John Krasinski’s latest had one of the best openings for a horror movie ever.
Horror movies have always been good money makers in general, but lately they’re becoming real blockbusters. John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place is set to join last year’s hits Get Out and IT among the highest-grossing releases of the genre ever, and unlike those titles it did so without an R rating. Ironically, Krasinski admits he’s not that into horror movies. Well, he just made one that follows just The Village as attracting the second largest audience for an original horror movie opening with an estimated 5.5 million tickets sold.
That’s also just slightly fewer than the 5.6 million sold for Cloverfield in its first weekend a decade ago. And good deal more people than the 2.9 million who went to see 10 Cloverfield Lane open two years ago. The reason I mention those two movies is A Quiet Place was once in discussion to maybe be reworked to be a Cloverfield movie, according to screenwriters Bryan Woods and Scott Beck (via /Film). But it surely benefitted in being kept its own thing. Especially given that the latest installment of that series, the Netflix-dumped The Cloverfield Paradox, was only seen by 2.8 million people in its first three days, per Nielsen tracking. And for that one people didn’t even have to leave their house.
Of course, A Quiet Place did receive much better reviews (97% on Rotten Tomatoes) and earned a decent CinemaScore grade (‘B+’) from opening night polling. Its opening was the year’s second best so far, behind only Black Panther. And it cost a 12th of the price of the Marvel movie. A Quiet Place is also both Krasinski and Blunt’s best live-action opener of all time. And for those curious about the legacy of Jim from The Office, the movie’s crowd over the weekend was larger than the audience for Krasinski’s sitcom during its final season — which drew an average of 4 million per episode.
Here are some other comparable movies and how they fared in their first three days:
The Village, which holds the record for most successful opening for an original horror release by people who are picky about the genre guidelines, sold 8.2 million tickets in it first weekend back in 2004. M. Night Shyamalan’s earlier, more similar to A Quiet Place, and scarier movie, Signs, debuted with an audience of 10.3 million. Last year’s Shyamalan-helmed Split bowed to 4.5 million.
The Conjuring, which was the second-place movie for the same consideration, was just barely trumped by A Quiet Place, having sold 5.3 million. in 2013. The Conjuring 2 only sold 4.6 million tickets in its first three days, while spin-offs Annabelle and Annabelle: Creation did just 4.5 million and 3.9 million tickets, respectively.
Jaws, which Krasinski kept naming as a primary inspiration in interviews, sold just 3.4 million tickets in its first weekend — however, that was with the movie only showing in 409 theaters, compared to A Quiet Place‘s 3,508 locations. Also, that movie wound up with the same size audience within just a couple more days. Spielberg’s Poltergeist, which I likened to the movie in a list of movies to watch next, debuted with 2.3 million tickets sold for just 890 screens, while the Poltergeist remake only sold 5.6 million tickets in its entire run.
Another recent movie with a similar original conceit is Don’t Breathe, which opened in 2016 in front of only 3.1 million people. If the reviews helped A Quiet Place more (Don’t Breathe was still a favorable 88%), its success was also benefited by it being a wide release from the start. Other acclaimed horror of late include Get Out, which successfully kicked off with 3.8 million tickets sold with far fewer locations and wound up doing about five times that in the end. A Quiet Place won’t be quite as leggy; its story has real substance in its paternal narrative but that’s not quite as major as the social importance that made Get Out a cultural phenomenon.
As for fellow new release Blockers, the movie sold about 2.2 million tickets, which makes it the biggest comedy debut of the year so far. Compare it to Game Night, which has been a sleeper hit but opened to an audience of just 1.9 million people. However, other comedies of the same teen-sex-themed ilk were more immediately appealing. American Pie sold 3.7 million tickets back in 1999, and Superbad sold 4.8 million tickets in 2007. Even Porky’s way back in 1982 attracted 2.6 million in its first weekend.
While Black Panther continues its rise as one of the highest-grossing movies of all time, its ticket sales are a better gauge of its popularity. Sure, its domestic gross is now higher than that of Titanic without considering inflation, its number of tickets sold, 72.5 million, is fewer than Titanic‘s initial run total of 128.3 million. Some of the movies Black Panther has now sold more tickets than, however, include Ghostbusters, Spider-Man, and Home Alone. And it did just pass Frozen in order to enter the top 10 highest-grossing movies of all time worldwide.
Here is the weekend’s top 20 by ticket sales with new titles in bold and total sold in parentheses:
1. A Quiet Place – 5.5 million (5.5 million)
2. Ready Player One – 2.7 million (10.5 million)
3. Blockers – 2.2 million (2.2 million)
4. Black Panther – 948K (72.5 million)
5. I Can Only Imagine – 913K (7.5 million)
6. Tyler Perry’s Acrimony – 879K (3.4 million)
7. Chappaquiddick – 628K (628K)
8. Sherlock Gnomes – 592K (3.7 million)
9. Pacific Rim Uprising – 526K (6 million)
10. Isle of Dogs – 497K (1.3 million)
11. The Miracle Season – 430K (430K)
12. A Wrinkle in Time – 360K (9.8 million)
13. Love, Simon – 301K (4.1 million)
14. Tomb Raider – 210K (6 million)
15. Paul, Apostle of Christ – 193K (1.6 million)
16. God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness – 119K (535K)
17. Game Night – 117K (7.3 million)
18. The Death of Stalin – 108K (596K)
19. Peter Rabbit – 105K (12.3 million)
20. The Leisure Seeker – 57K (193K)
All box office figures via Box Office Mojo.