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No, Moviegoing didn’t die during the pandemic like many may have thought. Instead, Moviegoing just went into hibernation. According to studio estimates on Sunday, John Krasinski’s thriller sequel A Quiet Place Part II has emerged to be the biggest hit post-pandemic as it opened over the Memorial Day weekend to a raving $48.4 million. According to studio forecasts, if you include the holiday on Monday, the film will gross $58.5 million in North America. Overseas ticket sales added another $22 million.

The Paramount Pictures’ long-awaited movie A Quiet Place Part II was on the cusp of opening in March 2021 before theatres got shut. The film’s performance has helped cheer up the movie industry for being punished by the pandemic. After Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, the Emily Blunt movie is the biggest hit, and the only larger budget COVID-era releases to open exclusively in theatres.

The distribution chief for Paramount, Chris Aronson, described the movie’s opening as an unqualified success.

“It’s a huge sigh of relief and a sense of optimism for sure. Movies, moviegoing, movie theatres aren’t dead. Yes, they’ve been threatened, but they’re proving once again that they’re resilient and that people do want to have that communal experience,” Aronson explained.

The movie will also turn to stream online after enjoying 45 days in theatres. It will then be available on Paramount +.

A Quiet Place Part II doing so well makes a strong case for theatrical-first release for big movies. This is the best news for an industry dealing with probably the most challenging chapter in movie theatre history.

The movie had already had its red-carpet premiere in March last year when it was set to release. So they had spent some of its marketing budgets, too. However, the opening was remarkably in line with predictions of how many tickets it would sell before the pandemic started. Paramount sold off many of its films to streamers in the post-pandemic months, including Coming 2 America and The Trial of the Chicago 7. However, Krasinski felt strongly that the hushed intensity of A Quiet Place Part II would work best on the big screen.

Krasinski had said that a theatrical release was non-negotiable in an interview before the release. So he pulled all stops to stoke excitement, traveling the country in the week before the theatrical release to surprise moviegoers. Still, the circumstances of the pandemic left him uncertain about whether audiences would come out.

“As bizarre as the entire year has been is how bizarre whatever opening weekend is. I don’t really know what it is anymore,” Krasinski said.

A Quiet Place Part II’s performance is very similar to the first part. The 2018 hit ultimately grossed $340 million globally on a $17 million budget. It launched with $50.2 million in North American ticket sales. Even though the popular opinion is that sequels usually do better than the originals, this sequel had to face many challenges due to the pandemic.

Chief Executive of IMAX Rich Gelfond said the film was the first domestic release this year to cross the threshold from ‘great opening weekend given the pandemic’ to ‘great opening weekend, period.’ Amen,

Many theatres in New York and Los Angeles are still operating, keeping up with social distancing measures. But the good news is that COVID guidelines are thawing. Last week, the nation’s top theatre chains AMC, Regal, and Cinemark announced they no longer required vaccinated moviegoers to wear face masks.

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