‘A Quiet Place’ Prequel Box Office Speaks Volumes as Costner’s Western Gets a Bumpy Start

 (L-R) Actors Alex Wolff, Djimon Hounsou, Lupita Nyong'o, and Joseph Quinn and attend the New York premiere of Paramount's "A Quiet Place: Day One" at AMC Lincoln Square Theater in New York on June 26, 2024. (AFP)
(L-R) Actors Alex Wolff, Djimon Hounsou, Lupita Nyong'o, and Joseph Quinn and attend the New York premiere of Paramount's "A Quiet Place: Day One" at AMC Lincoln Square Theater in New York on June 26, 2024. (AFP)
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‘A Quiet Place’ Prequel Box Office Speaks Volumes as Costner’s Western Gets a Bumpy Start

 (L-R) Actors Alex Wolff, Djimon Hounsou, Lupita Nyong'o, and Joseph Quinn and attend the New York premiere of Paramount's "A Quiet Place: Day One" at AMC Lincoln Square Theater in New York on June 26, 2024. (AFP)
(L-R) Actors Alex Wolff, Djimon Hounsou, Lupita Nyong'o, and Joseph Quinn and attend the New York premiere of Paramount's "A Quiet Place: Day One" at AMC Lincoln Square Theater in New York on June 26, 2024. (AFP)

“A Quiet Place: Day One” is making noise at the box office. The prequel earned an estimated $53 million in its first weekend in North American theaters, according to studio estimates Sunday.

It’s both a franchise best and significantly more than expected. Going into the weekend, prerelease tracking had “Day One” pegged for a $40 million debut, but audiences were clearly more enthusiastic to see the action-horror starring Lupita Nyong’o and Joseph Quinn and released by Paramount. The same could not be said for Kevin Costner’s “Horizon: An American Saga—Chapter 1,” which opened to $11 million.

The “Quiet Place” victory wasn’t quite enough to snag the coveted first place spot on the charts, though. That honor again went to Disney and Pixar’s juggernaut “Inside Out 2,” which added an estimated $57.4 million in its third weekend in theaters, and crossed $1 billion globally.

There’s a distant possibility that the places will shift when actuals are released Monday. But either way it’s good news for movie theaters in a summer season that’s finally heating up but still running far behind last year (down 19%) and pre-pandemic norms (down 36% from 2019).

“Inside Out 2” continues to be a box office phenomenon, the likes of which the industry hasn’t seen since “Barbie” almost a year ago. In just three weeks of release, it’s earned nearly $470 million in North America and $545.5 million internationally, bringing its global total to $1.01 billion. The sequel is the only 2024 release to cross the billion dollar mark and it did it in just 19 days, a record for an animated film.

“A Quiet Place: Day One,” directed by Michael Sarnoski and rated PG-13, is also fast approaching an important threshold out of the gates. Including the $45.5 million from international showings in 59 markets, the $67 million production has already made $98.5 million.

In a rare feat for a third film, it opened higher than both “A Quiet Place” ($50.2 million opening in April 2018) and “A Quiet Place: Part II” ($47.5 million opening in May 2021). John Krasinski, who wrote and directed the first two, continued serving as a producer.

Playing on 3,708 screens in the US and Canada, nearly 40% of its domestic earnings came from “premium screens” including IMAX and other large formats. It entered the marketplace with mostly positive reviews (84% on Rotten Tomatoes); Audiences gave it a B+ CinemaScore and four out of five stars on PostTrak.

The start for “Horizon,” meanwhile, was sluggish. Though older audiences, the ones most likely to support a Western epic, don’t typically rush out to see films on opening weekend the way people often do for horrors and superheroes, the road ahead will not be easy: Reviews have not been great and it got an underwhelming B- CinemaScore.

The stakes are also a little different for “Horizon,” a $100 million production that Costner financed on his own and partnered with Warner Bros. to distribute. It opened in 3,334 locations. A decades-old passion project, he mortgaged property in Santa Barbara, Calif. to finance it and exited “Yellowstone” to see it through. In a bold, unconventional strategy, “Part 2” arrives in theaters later this summer, on Aug. 16. He also has plans for two more movies.



Movie Review: In ‘Deadpool & Wolverine,’ the Superhero Movie Finally Accepts Itself for What It Is 

Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds attend the premiere of "Deadpool & Wolverine" in New York City, New York, US, July 22, 2024. (Reuters)
Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds attend the premiere of "Deadpool & Wolverine" in New York City, New York, US, July 22, 2024. (Reuters)
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Movie Review: In ‘Deadpool & Wolverine,’ the Superhero Movie Finally Accepts Itself for What It Is 

Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds attend the premiere of "Deadpool & Wolverine" in New York City, New York, US, July 22, 2024. (Reuters)
Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds attend the premiere of "Deadpool & Wolverine" in New York City, New York, US, July 22, 2024. (Reuters)

If one thing is certain about “Deadpool,” it’s that its titular hero, for reasons never explained, understands his place in the world — well, in our world.

Indeed, the irreverent and raunchy mutant is sure to belabor his awareness of the context in which he lives — namely an over-saturated, increasingly labyrinthine multibillion-dollar Marvel multiverse which spans decades, studios and too many films for most viewers to count.

From its inception, the “Deadpool” franchise has prided itself on a subversive, self-aware anti-superhero superhero movie, making fun of everything from comic books to Hollywood to its biggest champion, co-writer and star, Ryan Reynolds.

It’s no surprise then, as fans have come to expect, that the long-anticipated “Deadpool & Wolverine” further embraces its fourth wall-breaking self-awareness — even as it looks increasingly and more earnestly like the superhero movie blueprint it loves to exploit. That tension — the fact that “Deadpool” has called out comic book movie tropes despite being, in fact, a comic book movie — is somehow remedied in “Deadpool & Wolverine,” which leans into its genre more than the franchise’s first two movies.

Perhaps this gives viewers more clarity on its intended audience. After all, someone who hates superhero films — I’m looking at you, Scorsese — isn’t going to be won over because of a few self-deprecating jokes about lazy writing, budgets for A-list cameos and the overused “superhero landing” Reynolds’ Deadpool regularly refers to.

But this time around, director Shawn Levy — his first Marvel movie — seems to have found a sweet spot. Levy is surely helped by the fact that the third film in the franchise has a bigger budget, more hype and, of course, a brooding Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.

That anticipation makes their relationship, packed with hatred and fandom, all the more enticing. Their fight scenes against each other are just as compelling as their moments of self-sacrificial partnership in the spirit of, you guessed it, saving the world(s).

Speaking of worlds, there is one important development in our own to be aware of ahead of time. The first two “Deadpool” films were distributed by 20th Century Fox, whose $71.3 billion acquisition by the Walt Disney Co. in 2019 opened the door for the franchise to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, “Deadpool & Wolverine” takes full advantage of that vast playground, which began in 2008 with Robert Downey Jr.’s “Iron Man” and now includes more than 30 films and a host of television shows. The acquisition is also a recurring target of Deadpool’s sarcasm throughout the movie.

Although steeped in references and cameos that can feel a bit like inside baseball for the less devoted, “Deadpool & Wolverine” is easy enough to follow for the casual Marvel viewer, though it wouldn’t hurt to have seen the first “Deadpool” and Jackman’s 2017 “Logan,” a harbinger of the increasing appetite for R-rated superhero violence. The Disney+ series “Loki” also gives helpful context, though is by no means a must watch, on the Time Variance Authority, which polices multiverse timelines to avoid “incursions,” or the catastrophic colliding of universes.

A defining feature of “Deadpool” has been its R rating and hyper violent action scenes. Whether thanks to more money, Levy’s direction or some combination of the two, these scenes are much more visually appealing.

But “Deadpool & Wolverine” does succumb to some of the deus ex machina writing that so often plagues superhero movies. Wade Wilson’s (the real identity of Deadpool) relationship with his ex (?) Vanessa is particularly underdeveloped — though it’s possible that ambiguity is a metaphor for Deadpool’s future within the MCU.

The plot feels aimless at points toward the end. One cameo-saturated battle scene in particular is resolved in a way that leaves its audience wanting after spending quite a bit of time building tension around it. While there are a few impressive stars who make an appearance, audiences may be disappointed by the amount of MCU characters referenced who don’t make it in.

The bloody but comedic final fight scene, however, is enough to perk viewers back up for the last act, solidifying the film’s identity as a fun, generally well-made summer movie.

The sole MCU release of 2024, “Deadpool & Wolverine” proves it’s not necessarily the source material that’s causing so-called superhero fatigue. It also suggests, in light of Marvel’s move to scale back production following a pandemic and historic Hollywood strikes, that increased attention given to making a movie will ultimately help the final product.