The huge rebound seen this Memorial Day weekend could bring higher standards for June’s big releases
Paramount’s “A Quiet Place — Part II” and Disney’s “Cruella” may not have been able to keep this Memorial Day weekend from being the lowest since the early 1990s, but they have brought the highest overall weekend totals since the COVID-19 pandemic began — and likely raised the bar for the summer blockbusters to come.
Current estimates have “A Quiet Place — Part II” earning $57 million over the four-day holiday weekend, while “Cruella” made $26.5 million despite a simultaneous release on Disney+ as a PVOD title (matching studio projections for an opening in the $20 million range). Combined, the two have pushed overall totals to around $80 million for the three-day period and $100 million including Memorial Day.
But for all the optimism this weekend brings, studios will certainly still want to manage expectations for their biggest releases this summer. Analysts and studio sources both agreed heading into this summer that the sort of $100 million-plus openings that the modern box office provides repeatedly this time of year are very unlikely, and $75 million domestic starts for top titles like “F9” and “Black Widow” are more likely.
But that was before “A Quiet Place — Part II” nearly matched the $60 million start it was projected to have before the pandemic delayed its initial March 2020 release, even with hundreds of Canadian theaters still closed. (The three-day total of $48.4 million also nearly matched the $50.2 million first-weekend performance of John Krasinski’s original 2018 film.) If movies continue to perform by pre-COVID standards and the U.S. continues to keep the virus contained, the pandemic may not be as much of an excuse for an underperforming film as the summer goes on, at least on the domestic side.