Paramount reported results for Thursday-night previews of “A Quiet Place Part II,” and they are excellent. John Krasinski’s sequel grossed $4.8 million in about 3,000 theaters, for a $1,600 per-theater average. The film goes wider today, with 3,700 theaters in North America. The best news is this: When “A Quiet Place” opened in previews on April 5, 2018, it grossed $4.3 million in about 3,500 theaters. The original went on to make $50 million in its first three days.
Less impressive is “Cruella,” which took in $1.4 million in a reported 3,892 theaters. That result comes as the live-action adaptation of “101 Dalmatians” is also now available for Disney+ subscribers for an additional $29.99 rental charge.
“Cruella” preview results are much lower than “Maleficent” in 2014, which it opened the weekend after Memorial Day. That film, which grossed $69 million for the weekend, took in $4.2 million for its previews. “Cruella” has been expected to gross less than “Quiet Place,” but a family-oriented film could easily show greater strength over the long weekend.
Seating restrictions still limit capacity in many theaters, while the majority of Canada is still closed and some key U.S. theaters are not yet open. Those challenging circumstances makes the $500,000 improvement between “A Quiet Place” installments particularly impressive.
Some context: A sequel to a sleeper success like “A Quiet Place” usually has greater initial appeal than the original, which was an unknown quantity. “A Quiet Place II” also has the advantage of prime placement: It’s the key film marking the hoped-for return to moviegoing. Shows also started at 5:30 pm, rather than 7 pm., with far more screens. Most key theaters had as many as three or more, including most IMAX and other premium formats.
Sequels often are frontloaded, and doing better for previews doesn’t guarantee a better overall total. It does suggest a good chance that $40 million for the full weekend is possible; even the high end of $50 million isn’t out of range.
As with so much in exhibition in 2021, “A Quiet Place II” doesn’t have a lot of comps. Memorial Day is traditionally reserved for blockbusters with nine-digit budgets, not atypical-horror sleeper-sequels. However, based on “A Quiet Place” in 2018, here’s what could happen: $4.3 million previews became part of a Friday total just under $18.9 million. Unusual for a genre opener, and a sign of its great word of mouth, its daily take increased on Saturday.
Whatever happens — and close to those numbers would still be a positive result — this is very encouraging.