Paramount have had a tough couple of years, between their previously trusty Transformers franchise under-performing in its most recent installment to their habit of pawning off potential hits to Netflix in the hopes of saving a few pennies. Many have theorized about the legendary studio’s financial issues, so they’ll probably be breathing very loud sighs of relief with this weekend’s news. A Quiet Place, directed by and starring John Krasinski as well as his real-life wife Emily Blunt, outperformed even the most ambitious expectations and grossed $50m. From a budget of $17m, that’s one hell of a splash to make. Audiences are loving it, the critical praise has been unanimously positive, and it has all the markers of a potential franchise, which is all Hollywood really cares about. That debut is also big news for horror fans. It’s well ahead of the debut The Conjuring had - $41m - and tops out the opening weekend of Split by at least $10m. With strong word of mouth, this could easily take in $130m+.
More impressively, A Quiet Place took in twice the amount of the second place film on the list, Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, which previously held the second best opening of 2018 with $42 million last weekend. An extra $25m in the kitty is pretty solid for the blockbuster whose existence enrages me. Apparently, word of mouth is strong, so I haven’t been screaming loud enough about how it epitomizes everything wrong with geek culture. What, me, mad? Never. Besides, this is another blockbuster whose grosses overseas will ensure its success, as it took in an astounding $81m this weekend in China. Why couldn’t you all turn out like this for Spielberg’s Tintin movie?
Debuting at number 3 is Blockers, Kay Cannon’s raunchy comedy that’s received way better reviews than any of us imagined a movie with butt-chugging John Cena would garner. With a $21m opening weekend, it’s already made its budget back, and CinemaScore tells us the audiences have been majority female. See, when you don’t treat us like shit in these comedies, we like it!
While my Wakanda puns have probably come to an end, Black Panther and its domination of the domestic box office has not. It has now topped Titanic to become the third highest domestic release of all time (pretend inflation doesn’t happen).
I Can Only Imagine, the Christian movie hit of 2018, has taken in $69m so far domestically - nice - but the best news regarding that is that it seems to be draining the latest God’s Not Dead movie dry. That one debuted horribly at number 12 and has fallen 5 places this weekend, averaging only $813 per theatre. Ha!
A surprise debut in the top 10 this week is Chappaquiddick, the drama about Ted Kennedy and the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. With $6.2m, it opened at number 7. Reviews were strong and audiences seemed keen to see this story, which way too many young ones on my Twitter feed had no idea about before this year. There’s been talk of the Kennedy clan trying to shut the movie down, which I would usually dismiss but hey, it’s the Kennedys. If nothing else, it’s good publicity.
Isle of Dogs opened to an extra 389 theatres and did great business, moving into the top 10 with $4.6m. Fox Searchlight plan to open it even wider next week, to over 1750 theatres, so it will be interesting to see if a Wes Anderson stop-motion animation has any kind of appeal to mainstream audiences.
Two of the most highly anticipated indie movies of 2018 opened to great business in very limited screenings this weekend. Lynne Ramsay’s latest, You Were Never Really Here - a.k.a. the best film of 2018 so far - made just under $130k from only 3 screens (a $43.3k average). Reviews have been great, there’s real love for Ramsay, and if you were lucky enough to see if at the Arclight in Los Angeles, Joaquin Phoenix himself was there to say hi and introduce every screening. I quite like this version of Phoenix who seems to be actively enjoying promoting a movie. Meanwhile, A24 released their first film of 2018, following their massive success with Lady Bird. Lean On Pete, Andrew Haigh’s newest film, made $50k from 4 screens.
Next week sees the release of Borg vs. McEnroe, in which Shia LaBoeuf plays John McEnroe, the newest horror from Blumhouse, Truth or Dare, and Dwayne Johnson’s giant mutant gorilla-palooze, Rampage.
You can check out the rest of the weekend box office here?
What films did you watch this weekend? How long would you be able to keep quiet before you lost your shit and got eaten by aliens? Is Blockers a better title than the original one the film had, Cherries? The Kennedy Curse - Thoughts? Answers and more in the comments.