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L-r, Marcus (Noah Jupe), Regan (Millicent Simmonds), and Evelyn (Emily Blunt) brave the unknown in "A Quiet Place Part II." Image Credit: AP

Horror film ‘A Quiet Place: Part II’ opened in North America this weekend to considerable fanfare and with numbers unlike any seen since the pandemic began, as Covid curbs began falling and theatres began filling up again.

So after Hollywood’s brutal year of dark screens and empty seats, movies are starting to come back.

“The symbolic importance of this Memorial Day Weekend to the movie theater industry cannot be overstated,” said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior analyst at Comscore. The numbers, he said, “tell an indisputable story about the resilience and continued relevance of the big screen experience.”

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A Quiet Place: Part II Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

The latest ‘Quiet Place’ — a John Krasinski-directed sequel to the popular 2018 film about a young family trying to outwit horrific blind monsters with frighteningly keen hearing — is projected to take in $58.5 million for the four-day Memorial Day weekend, said industry watcher Exhibitor Relations. The film is scheduled to release in the UAE on June 10.

That pushed the combined gross for the weekend’s top 12 films to $78.1 million, up from $18.8 million the previous weekend and from a flat-lining zero in the corresponding 2020 weekend.

“This bodes well for the future of the theatrical exhibition and is thus a huge relief for the movie industry at large,” Dergarabedian said.

In second place for the weekend was Disney’s live-action ‘Cruella’ at $27 million. The movie, with a snarling Emma Stone as the title baddie and Emma Thompson in a supporting role, has a ways to go to attain the box-office status of its 1961 precursor ‘One Hundred and One Dalmatians’, but its opening weekend was seen as “promising,” Variety said, given conditions.

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Emma Stone as Cruella Image Credit: AP

‘Cruella’ can also be streamed on the Disney+ channel in the US and is playing in UAE cinemas.

There was a steep dropoff to third spot, which went to Lionsgate’s horror film ‘Spiral’, at $3 million. The latest addition to the ‘Saw’ franchise stars Chris Rock, Max Minghella and Samuel L. Jackson. The film is out in the UAE.

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Still from Spiral Image Credit: AP

In fourth, at $2.8 million, was ‘Wrath of Man’, from United Artists. The action thriller, directed by Guy Ritchie, stars Jason Statham as an armored truck driver who thwarts a robbery but then faces unwanted attention due to his troubled past and was the Eid release in the UAE.

And in fifth was Disney’s computer-animated fantasy ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’, at $2.4 million. Its mainly Asian-American cast includes the voices of Kelly Marie Tran as Raya, Awkwafina, Gemma Chan and Sandra Oh.