By Chris Kavan - 06/01/21 at 08:04 PM CT
A short list for the MPAA Ratings Bulletin but at least it features a couple of big-name films unlike the slow weeks we've had of late. But it's not just the MPAA bulletin that's exciting as Memorial Day Weekend brought out the biggest box office numbers yet, led by a Covid-era best weekend from A Quiet Place, Part II. Combined with robust numbers from Cruella as well as F9's continued dominance overseas and there was plenty of reason for studios to breath a welcome sigh of relief.
By far the biggest news for the weekend was the monster opening of A Quite Place, Part II, which opened to $47.5 million for the weekend, rising to $57 million including the Monday holiday. This is impressive for a number of reasons: one, it nearly matched the original film's $50.2 million opening, two, it matched the pre-Covid predictions for the film's opening (before it was, like so many others, postponed due to the pandemic) and three, it is the highest opening thus far, easily topping Godzilla vs. Kong ($32 million) and it's four-day total nearly topped the entire gross for Tenet ($58.4 million), one of the few major films to open during the pandemic. Plus the film was hit with critics (91% on Rotten Tomatoes) and audiences (an "A-" Cinemascore) and will enjoy a 45-day theatrical only window until being available on Paramount+. It will face a direct challenge in the horror department from The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (also premiering on HBO Max at the same time) - so we'll see how the horror sequels stack up against one another, but I have a feeling A Quite Place, Part II is going to enjoy a nice, long run in theaters.
While A Quiet Place, Part II made the most noise, Disney had a perfectly solid runner-up position with Cruella. Emma Stone stars as the devious puppy-skinning villain, in a mix of Joker and The Devil Wars Prada and a rare PG-13 venture for the Mouse House. It was good enough for a $21.5 million weekend, rising to $26.5 million including the holiday. While it wasn't quite as big a hit with critics, it was still healthy positive at 73% with audiences giving it an even better "A" Cinemascore. Of note - female audiences made up a good chunk of the box office with 53% for A Quiet Place, Part II and a full 64% for Cruella. The film was also available as a "premium" title on Disney+ for $30, though judging streaming numbers is a bit more difficult. Still, out of the many Disney re-imaginings over the years, I think this looks like one of the best, plus I'm just a fan of Stone.
The numbers fall off quite a bit after the two big, but it featured a resurgent Raya and the Last Dragon, jumping an impressive 40.5% even after shedding 360 theaters, taking in $2.34 million and raising its total to $51.2 million - $51.7 when factoring in the holiday. It also was enough to raise its worldwide total to over $125 million for $128.7 million and counting.
Spiral and Wrath of Man traded positions with Spiral winning the weekend with $2.21 million and Wrath of Man earning $2.17 million but the films changed position with Memorial Day factored in with Wrath of Man topping Spiral with $2.72 million versus $2.69 million. Spiral took the bigger hit, dipping nearly 52% - it has made $20.2 million thus far (about $30 million worldwide). Wrath of Man dropped 27% and had earned $22.7 million and looks more iimpressive overseas with a worldwide total of $80.4 million.
Speaking of worldwide, F9 continued to dominate the international market, even as it took a nosedive in China, falling 85% to $20.5 million compared to its $137 million opening. While it will finish a far cry from recent entries in the Fast series, it has still made over $200 million overseas - crossing the $230 million already.
Next week we'll see if audience are in the mood for more horror as The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It hits theaters and families will get something to watch as well with the animated Spirit Untamed.
Onto a short but substantial MPAA Ratings Bulletin that finds a couple of sequels - including a new team-up between Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson (along with a spicy, new cast member) and a LeBron James joining forces with Bugs Bunny in a new Space Jam.
Live action/animated hybrids are still relatively rare, but from Roger Rabbit to Peter Rabbit to Bugs Bunny - apparently having a rabbit is all you need (okay, also Paddington Bear and Tom and Jerry count too). Long were the rumors of a new Space Jam talked about, and now we have Space Jam: A New Legacy with the talented LeBron James taking over the spotlight from legend Michael Jordon in the original film. The plot, as it stands, finds a fictionalized version of James becoming trapped in the Serververse with his son, Dom (Cedric Joe) ruled by rogue Al-G Rhythm (Don Cheadle) who will only let them return to their world if their Tune Squad can beat his Goon Squad, composed of powered-up virtual avatars of big-name pro stars (including the likes of Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, Nneka Ogwumike, Klay Thompson and Diana Taurasi). But as the undisciplined Tune Squad is no stranger to a come-back victory and, hey, they've got Lola Bunny (voiced by Zendaya) on their side, so everything should be A-OK. Like all Warner Bros. films, this will premiere in theaters and on HBO Max and for some reason a bunch of Warner Bros. villains make an impromptu appearance (like, uh, Pennywise from IT and the droogs from A Clockwork Orange) so count me intrigued. Rated PG for some cartoon violence and some language.
That's not the only sequel getting a spotlight this week, as The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard brings us the reunion of assassin Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) with uneasy bodyguard Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) with Kincaid's wife, an even more unhinged Sonia (Salma Hayek) stepping in on Bryce's sabbatical to save her husband. Due to the nature of his trip, Bryce is unable to use weapons or lethal force, and he must rely only on his wits and training to save the wild, unpredictable couple - and himself - from certain death. I liked the first film is only because Reynolds and Jackson have such great chemistry and Hayek looks to be a welcome addition to the mix. I'm sure we'll still get plenty of violence - swearing - and all the fun stuff that made the first film such a trip. Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, pervasive language and some sexual content.
Those are the big films for the week, and also all you'll get in the full MPAA Ratings Bulletin below:
Rated PG-13 for peril, bloody images, thematic elements and some strong language.
THE HITMAN'S WIFE'S BODYGUARD
Rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, pervasive language, and some sexual content.
SIEGE AT RHYKER'S STATION
Rated PG-13 for violence and bloody images.
SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY
Rated PG for some cartoon violence and some language.
Rated R for some violence and language.