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Why A QUIET PLACE Franchise is a Smashing Success in the Horror Genre

Photo from A QUIET PLACE on Instagram

Why A QUIET PLACE Franchise is a Smashing Success in the Horror Genre

By Movieguide® Contributor

After three successful installments in theaters, it’s clear the A QUIET PLACE franchise has viewers hooked — and it’s easy to see why.

“The third entry in Paramount’s post-apocalyptic series, A QUIET PLACE: DAY ONE, beat expectations with $53 million domestically and $98 million globally in its box office debut,” Variety reported July 1. “It landed the best start of the three films, above the original 2018 A QUIET PLACE, ($50 million in its opening) and the 2021 sequel, A QUIET PLACE PART II (a $48 million debut, but one that happened during COVID).”

After a few days in theaters, DAY ONE became the highest-grossing horror movie of the year.

“The enduring appeal of the trio of films, the most recent entry serving as an origin story, signals that A QUIET PLACE has enough power to fill seats at multiplexes based on the strength of its name,” Variety continued. “It joins the company of other big horror properties, like THE CONJURING, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY and INSIDIOUS, all of which remain popular but have experienced some diminishing returns over the course of many sequels and spinoffs.”

What the A QUIET PLACE franchise has that these other horror films don’t is moral values and family bonds. That’s why, on its third run, it’s more successful than ever.

The first movie, A QUIET PLACE, saw stars John Krasinski and Emily Blunt nominated for Movieguide®’s Graze Prize® nomination. A QUIET PLACE PART II won a Teddy Bear Award® in 2022.

Movieguide®’s review of DAY ONE reads:

Set in New York City, A QUIET PLACE: DAY ONE is a scary science fiction movie about an invasion of alien monsters from space. Sam is a young but terminally ill female poet who’s very bitter. She finds herself trapped in the city when alien monsters invade. The monsters can’t see, but they hunt by sound. Sam wants to survive one more day to visit the place where she and her father used to spend quality time. Eric, a law student from England, helps Sam and her cat.

A QUIET PLACE: DAY ONE tells a scary, thrilling and poignant story. It has the scary thrills the first two QUIET PLACE movies had. Like them, it has lots of heart. In fact, the movie has one of the most powerfully poignant endings in recent years. DAY ONE also has strong moral, redemptive themes of compassion and sacrifice. At one point Sam and Eric find sanctuary in a Christian cathedral. A QUIET PLACE: DAY ONE is very scary, but without being bloody, and has brief foul language. MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for teenagers and adults.

“’There have been bigger horror movies,’ says David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research, pointing to Stephen King’s IT adaptations (the first opened to $123 million and grossed $704 million; the sequel opened to $91 million and earned $473 million) as well as last October’s FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY’s (the video-game adaptation debuted to $80 million and ended its run with $291 million),” Variety said. “‘However, Gross adds, ‘No series has been as consistent after three films as this. The hook — keep quiet or else — is going to carry it indefinitely into the future.’”

Variety points out A QUIET PLACE: DAY ONE, which is a side-story that takes place with no connection to the first two movies’ characters, has done remarkably well given that “spinoff stories rarely live up to sequels at the box office.” It cited the failures of two recent theater spinoffs, FURIOSA: A MAD MAX SAGA and THE HUNGER GAMES: THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES.

“Prequels are tougher sells because moviegoers typically know what happens later in the story,” Variety wrote. “They are especially challenging when they don’t have stars from the original. However, A QUIET PLACE: DAY ONE defied the odds and expanded its audiences even though Blunt and Krasinski, who propelled the first two films to box office glory, didn’t return for this entry.”

“The series kept up the pedigree by casting Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o opposite STRANGER THINGS breakout Joseph Quinn in the story set during the early stages of a New York City alien invasion. PIG filmmaker Michael Sarnoski took over directing duties from Krasinski, who contributed to the story and served as a producer,” Variety said.

Variety previously said about the first movie’s success, “At its core, Krasinski told Variety the movie is a metaphor for ‘parenthood, the idea of protecting your kids, and how far would you go to protect them.’ However, critics have also pointed to the apocalyptic monster movie’s parallels of political unrest in America.”

“The deeper a film can go in terms of messages, the stronger it will be in terms of targeting more of a demographic,” said Jeff Bock, a box office analyst.

After the launch of the first two films, fans’ curiosity about the movies’ monsters was highly piqued.

“We listened to the fans about what they’d be looking for,” said Paramount’s president of domestic distribution Chris Aronson. “Giving them a new city as the setting and fresh characters all conspired to broaden the audience.”

The latest movie also finds a balance between sci-fi, scares and gore. It thrills with very few bloody elements and has redemptive themes.

“Analysts and critics believe that A QUIET PLACE: DAY ONE scored at the box office because it managed to justify its existence and feel like a worthy entry in the franchise,” Variety said.

“It didn’t feel like a money grab, but rather a component of the story that needed to be told,” said senior Comscore analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

Currently, the reviews and audience scores are lower than A QUIET PLACE PART II but are still high for the genre.

“A QUIET PLACE is one of the most consistently well-reviewed horror franchises. The moviegoing public and critics responded enthusiastically to the newest PG-13 film, which notched a solid B+ CinemaScore and 84% on Rotten Tomatoes,” Variety said.  “Opening weekend crowds skewed slightly male (men accounted for 53% of ticket buyers), while millennials and Gen Z turned out in force with 55% of patrons aged 18-34. Many of those audience members opted to watch DAY ONE on the biggest screen possible with nearly 40% of domestic returns coming from premium screens like Imax and Dolby.”

However, “there’s one potentially worrying sign as the franchise inevitably expands; the budgets keep getting bigger,” Variety notes. “The first movie, which became a sleeper hit with $340 million globally, cost a trim $17 million. The sequel, another winner with $297 million globally, moved comfortably to mid-budget territory with its $61 million price tag.”

And A QUIET PLACE: DAY ONE jumped to $67m.

“Given its initial global ticket sales, the prequel is well-primed in its theatrical run. But Paramount needs these films to remain mid-budget propositions to justify more and more returns to this dystopian universe,” Variety said. After all, the only thing scarier than ruthless, sound-hunting monsters are shrinking profit margins. At least, if you’re the studio footing the bill.”

Per Variety, A QUIET PLACE PART III is underway, but no other details have been confirmed.


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