'A Quiet Place Part II' sets US box office alight as it makes pandemic-era record

The horror took $48 million in North American cinemas at the weekend, giving hope to a film industry battered by Covid-19

This image released by Paramount Pictures shows, from left, Noah Jupe, Millicent Simmonds and Emily Blunt in a scene from "A Quiet Place Part II." (Jonny Cournoyer/Paramount Pictures via AP)
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You can almost hear the collective sigh of relief from studio executives across Hollywood.

After a brutal year for the film industry, the North American box office is finally showing signs of life again.

That's mostly thanks to John Krasinski's post-apocalyptic thriller A Quiet Place Part II. The sequel collected a roaring $48 million in domestic cinemas between Friday and Sunday, exceeding expectations and posting the biggest three-day haul of the pandemic era.

The Paramount Pictures film, currently playing in 3,726 venues across North America, is expected to generate a sizeable $58m through Memorial Day on Monday.

Those ticket sales are significant because it's not far off from what the film was projected to make prior to the pandemic, with an original release date of March 2020.

The original A Quiet Place opened to $50m in 2018, meaning the studio's decision to hold the follow-up film until cinemas reopened to a significant degree proved to be prudent.

A Quiet Place Part II, which features Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe as a family forced to live in near-silence, has the benefit of getting an exclusive theatrical release. It will move to Paramount Plus, the streaming service owned by its parent company ViacomCBS, in 45 days.

About 75 per cent of US cinemas have reopened, with many locations still facing capacity restrictions.

Recent releases, including Warner Bros' Godzilla vs Kong and Disney's Raya and the Last Dragon, premiered simultaneously on digital platforms.

Despite its hybrid rollout on HBO Max, Godzilla vs Kong previously boasted the best start since Covid-19 hit, with $32m for the three-day weekend and $48m in its first five days on the big screen.

This weekend's other major release, Disney's live-action Cruella starring Emma Stone, pulled in promising numbers for a film that's currently playing on Disney+ in the US. The movie, a punk rock origin story about the puppy-hating 101 Dalmatians villain, is estimated to bring in $21.3m from 3,892 cinemas over the three-day weekend and $26.5m through to Monday.

Internationally, Cruella – which is in UAE cinemas – has posted $16.1m from 29 overseas countries. That brings its total earnings to $37.4m globally, with projections of $42.6m through to Memorial Day.

Elsewhere at the domestic box office, the horror film Spiral – starring Chris Rock and Samuel L Jackson – slid to third place in its third weekend of release. The chilling instalment in the gruesome Saw franchise added another $2.1m, taking its US tally to $20m.

Jason Statham's Wrath of Man landed in fourth place with $2m. After a month in cinemas, the vigilante action-adventure has grossed $22.7m.

Raya and the Last Dragon rounded out the top five on US box office charts. The family-friendly cartoon made $1.9m in its 13th weekend of release, amassing $51m to date.