Paramount Pictures' dark thriller "A Quiet Place" debuted in first place with $50 million in domestic weekend ticket sales, crushing the most optimistic industry expectations of $25 million, according to figures from measurement firm ComScore.
The PG-13 horror flick, directed by and starring John Krasinski ("The Office"), follows a family of four forced to live in silence while hiding from creatures that hunt by sound. It scored a B-plus from audience polling firm CinemaScore and a 97% positive rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
The film, which cost an estimated $17 million to make, also stars Emily Blunt ("Sicario," "The Devil Wears Prada"), Krasinski's wife, and is the first Paramount title to outperform expectations since Jim Gianopulos took over the studio last year.
The film follows the surprise horror smash "It," which opened to $123 million in September and went on to a final gross of $327 million. "A Quiet Place" joins the ranks of recent horror breakouts such as "Annabelle: Creation," which opened with $35 million and finished with $102 million; "Get Out," which opened with $33 million before racking up $176 million; and "Split," which opened to $40 million on its way to amassing $138 million in ticket sales.
"A Quiet Place" is also the biggest Paramount opening since "Star Trek Beyond" earned $59 million in summer 2016. The studio has endured a string of disappointments including a trio of high-profile bombs ("Downsizing," "Mother!" and "Suburbicon") in the fall.
Warner Bros.' "Ready Player One," now in its second week, came in at No. 2 for the weekend, adding $25.1 million in ticket sales (a 40% decline) for a cumulative total of $96.9 million.
Universal Pictures' raunchy comedy "Blockers" opened in third place with $21.4 million, surpassing analysts' predictions of $15 million to $20 million.
The R-rated comedy follows three parents bent on preventing their daughters from losing their virginity on prom night. It earned a B rating on CinemaScore and an 83% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Produced by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and James Weaver, the film stars Leslie Mann and John Cena and was directed by "Pitch Perfect" scribe Kay Cannon, making it the rare R-rated comedy helmed by a woman.
R-rated comedies have had a tough time at the box office lately, with high-profile flops including "Rough Night," "Baywatch," "Snatched," "The House," "CHIPs" and "Father Figures."
While Warner Bros.' "Game Night" continues to do respectable business, "Blockers" is a true breakthrough for the genre. It's the third highest opening for an R-rated comedy in the last three years, behind only 2016's "Bad Moms" ($23.8 million) and 2017's "Girls Trip" ($31.2 million). Both of those movies had strong holds and went on to gross more than $100 million.
In fourth place for the weekend, Disney's "Black Panther" continues to do strong numbers, adding $8.4 million in its eighth weekend in theaters for a cumulative total of $665.3 million. It is now the third highest grossing movie ever at the U.S. box office (not adjusted for inflation), unseating "Titanic," which finished its domestic run with $659.3 million. The global gross for "Black Panther" is approaching $1.3 billion.
Rounding out the top five, Roadside Attractions' "I Can Only Imagine," now in its fourth week, added $8.3 million (and 246 locations) for a cumulative total of $69 million.
Also new this week was Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures' "Chappaquiddick," which made $6.2 million, above analysts' expectations of $4 million.
The political drama, which cost $20 million to acquire and market, tells the story of the 1969 accident involving Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy that killed young political campaign worker Mary Jo Kopechne. It earned a B rating on CinemaScore and an 80% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The final new wide release of the weekend, LD Entertainment's "The Miracle Season" starring Helen Hunt, opened with $4.1 million, above analysts' predictions of $3 million. The film, about a high school volleyball team that must overcome a tragedy, earned an A rating on CinemaScore and a 34% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
In limited release, Fox Searchlight's "Isle of Dogs" continues to do well, adding 389 theaters (for a total of 554) for $4.6 million in ticket sales, for a cumulative total $12 million. The film will expand further in the coming weeks.
Next week, Neon opens the drama "Borg vs. McEnroe," New Line Cinema debuts the action flick "Rampage," Fun Academy premieres the animation "Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero" and Universal drops the thriller "Truth or Dare."