By @HolocronJosh for @FilmCodex
As movie theaters begin returning to normal once again domestically, new releases are coming on a weekly basis. Just a few weeks ago, A Quiet Place Part II landed in theaters, before the latest chapter in The Conjuring franchise came and conquered the box office. This weekend, it was In the Heights’ turn, albeit with lukewarm results that were less than what most predicted.
Directed by John M. Chu, In the Heights earned $11.4 million over the weekend, when it was predicted to make around double that figure at least. With great reviews (and a terrific 96% on Rotten Tomatoes), this performance came to a shock to many movie audiences and those in the industry, especially as Warner Bros. funded an expensive advertising campaign for the film. Still, audiences didn’t seem too keen on returning to theaters for Chu’s film, leading to a second place finish at the box office.
In the Heights’ performance could come down to a few factors. While audiences might feel excited to go to see films like A Quiet Place Part II in theaters, they clearly didn’t feel the same enthusiasm for this, perhaps showing the strength of the horror genre, something that we’ve seen in the past few years as well. By all means, A Quiet Place was an event film, and highly anticipated by audiences since the first movie released in 2018. As much as the studio wanted to push In the Heights as a similar movie that people simply couldn’t miss in theaters, they were unable to do so, which could have hindered the box office performance. And while the hybrid release model didn’t seem to affect The Conjuring 3 all that much, it’s plausible that audiences were indeed interested in In the Heights, but not driven enough to see it on opening weekend, instead watching it at home on HBO Max. If this is the case, it could show the inherent lack of sustainability in the hybrid release model going forward, or at least for certain kinds of movies such as this. Still, there’s a good chance that In the Heights recuperated some money on the streaming service, a bright side of all of this.
In its place was, once again, A Quiet Place Part II, coming in at $11.7 million. In doing so, the film was the first pandemic movie to gross $100 million domestically. Meanwhile, Sony’s Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway opened with $10.4 million over four days (the film released on Thursday). Once again, this was below expectations, which signals the sheer unpredictability of the box office and that some films will do exceptionally well, but others won’t. And while this is similar to pre pandemic box office, it certainly seems to be more volatile and up and down, at least for now.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It came in fourth with $10.02 million, and Cruella rounded out the top 5 with 6.7 million.
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