Quiet Place II 2020 Movie Review
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If the delay of A Quiet Place Part II from September 4, 2020 to April 23, 2021 signaled the death of the 2020 summer movie season, it also signaled a summer movie season without a signal box office record being broken. There will be no $100 million opening weekends this summer, nor any $300-$600 million domestic earners. There will be no members of the $100 million losers club, nor any global releases anywhere near $1 billion. Up until Thursday, we had at least one potential new record on the verge of being set. John Krasinski and Emily Blunt’s A Quiet Place Part II was going to become the first Labor Day weekend blockbuster.
The Paramount PGRE -2.5% horror sequel was tracking for an over/under $60 million opening weekend when it was pulled from its March 20 release date and sent to September 4. At the time, it certainly seemed like a long-enough time for America (and the world) to get the coronavirus under control, but, well, Hollywood probably didn’t expect our executive branch of our federal government to do little-to-nothing to alleviate the problem during the first three months of quarantine. Moving Wonder Woman 1984 to August made sense in March. Ditto scheduling A Quiet Place part II in early September and keeping Tenet in July as a welcome back present for multiplexes. It all made sense at the time.
Had A Quiet Place part II opened on September 4 as planned, it almost certainly would have broken short-term (and probably long-term) records for a Labor Day weekend release. The “start of school/end of summer” holiday weekend has never been a launching bad for conventional blockbusters. The current record holder for the biggest Labor Day weekend launch remains the $30.5 million Fri-Mon debut of Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake. There are just seven movies that have opened over Labor Day (Jeepers Creepers, The American, Jeepers Creepers 2, One Direction: This is Us, Transporter 2, The Possession and Halloween) to open above even $15 million, let alone the mega-launches usually associated with other more family-friendly holiday weekends.
Labor Day usually marks the end of the summer season, and as such we usually get a B-movie opener or a star-driven flick aimed at adults (The American, The Debt, The Constant Gardener, etc.). It’s been a breather between the summer season and New Line’s latest horror spectacular. It opened with $123 million in the weekend after Labor Day in 2017, while The Nun ($51 million), It: Chapter Two ($98 million) and The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (initially set for September 11, now moved to June 4, 2021) followed suit/would have followed suit. As such, the biggest domestic earner opening on Labor Day weekend remains Halloween with $58 million in 2007.
Amy Heckerling’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High earned $27 million in 1982 from this weekend ($83 million adjusted for inflation) while Kenneth Branagh’s Dead Again earned $38 million in 1991 ($82 million adjusted). Had life returned to some sense of normalcy, A Quiet Place part II, a buzzy and (judging from social media chatter) critically-acclaimed sequel to a much-loved commercial and critical smash, would have likely topped Halloween’s $58 million domestic gross in its opening weekend while speeding past Fast Times and Dead Again’s inflation-adjusted totals by the end of its second weekend. A $65 million Fri-Mon debut followed by a drop even as severe as Halloween (-63%) would have given it a $93.5 million ten-day cume.