5 Ways to Prep: A Quiet Place
By George Rose
April 9, 2018
The inner workings of Hollywood are an interesting thing with this weekend’s new release, A Quiet Place, helping prove that point. On the surface, it is a very well reviewed horror entry from a relatively new director that had his start in comedy. No, I’m not talking about Jordan Peele’s Get Out. That was sooo last year. This year, we have John Krasinski from TV’s The Office taking the reins. Get Out had the added benefit of racial tension to help promote the film and capture an audience. With Krasinski's Quiet Place, we have an A-list romance.
I imagine this is how the production story went leading up to A Quiet Place’s release: Krasinski wants to be taken seriously in Hollywood but gets his start in comedy, works his way up into the good graces of some of the elite in town (he’s previously worked with George Clooney), he marries a fellow scene-stealer (Devil Wears Prada breakout Emily Blunt), they have one of those rare blockbuster romances that has yet to fizzle (RIP Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan Tatum), Blunts career takes off while Krasinsky sits on the sidelines, he then decides to leverage his relationship into writing/directing/starring in A Quiet Place to help bring him back into the limelight, and the rest will soon become history.
Had the new film not starred the married duo, it may not have gotten the attention it needed to get financing or a green light. Had that not happened, the film would not have been made and been given the chance to score the stellar reviews it’s currently enjoying. What we don’t know, moving forward, is how the success of this film will affect the relationship. Couples starring together does not always signify doom. Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn have lasted, though they never technically got married. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie did it, and they ended in shambles. It’s one thing to star together and it’s another to have one person direct another. If the film is a mid-level hit, it could strengthen their relationship with Krasinski owing Blunt a bit of gratitude. If the film is a blockbuster sensation, it could get to Krasinski's head. Only time will tell.
With a release like this, not even the first weekend’s box office results will be telling. Last Spring’s Split opened to around $40 million and ended around $140 million, which was huge. Then Get Out opened around $30 million and ended around $175 million, which was MASSIVE! Most horror films that open well around $25 million cap out around $50 million. Horror movies aren’t known for legs but they also aren’t known for large budgets. Given the reviews and early box office expectations, the film is already a success. Whether it lands on the $50 million low end, $80 million mid-range, $100+ million blockbuster level, or $150+ million phenomenon won’t be known for a few weeks. We can’t yet prep for the end result but we can prepare ourselves for the most informed viewing experience. Here are the 5 Ways to Prep for A Quiet Place.
#1) PROMISED LAND (2012)
Though A Quiet Place was written, directed and stars Krasinski, this is not his first foray into writing. He co-wrote the screenplay for and starred in Promised Land, a story about a natural gas salemens that comes into conflict with the company he works for when they decide to tap into the resources of a small town. I never saw it and I can’t speak for it personally, but the reviews are only 51% positive. That’s actually not too bad for a first-time writer, however one would expect better results considering the pedigree of the complete cast which includes Oscar winners Frances McDormand and Matt Damon. It only earned $7.5 million in total, which means there are many of you out there that missed this movie as well. Now might be a good time for us to check out Krasinski's first real writing gig.
#2) THE HOLLARS (2012)
It would be several years before Krasinski would get another chance behind the camera, though this time he swapped out his notepad for a directors chair. Unable to avoid the trappings of a small town, he now tells the story of a man that returns home after learning his mother has fallen ill. I guess you have to start small and stay small for a while before you can go blockbuster big, especially if you’re reviews are lacking. The movie - which barely earned $1 million dollars in limited release - scored only 45% positive reviews, though it once again attracted a stellar cast (Sharlto Copley, Charlie Day, Anna Kendrick, Richard Jenkins and Margo Martindale). It’s one of those star-studded dramas you can catch for free on a streaming service and is worth a view before catching Krasinski’s second chance at directing.
#3) GIRL ON THE TRAIN (2016)
Maybe he isn’t the best writer or director, or maybe he can’t ever be fully confident only controlling part of the puzzle. After his two prior backstage efforts, it would take the ultimate casting for Krasinski to get one last chance. Yup, he had to hire his wife. Though moves like this seem desperate, they are also necessary. Like mentioned earlier, this got him another chance to create a movie and the big bet paid off. After being crowned 100% positive with a batch of early reviews, Quiet Place now sits in the high 90’s with nothing but cash registers ready to flow in the coming weeks. No stranger to success is that very wife, Emily Blunt.
Of all the amazing movies she’s been in (Edge of Tomorrow being my favorite), her new role in Quiet Place most closely resembles her leading turn in Girl on the Train. In the new film, she stars as one of two married people that must protect their children in a world where monsters require your absolute silence in order to live. It’s stressful and riddled with anxiety, something she got a chance to shine at while playing the insanity of an alcoholic in Girl on the Train. If you want know why casting Blunt as a stressed-out mom made sense, check her out as a strung-out boozehound on the Train. It won’t be long before we see her star as an Oscar winner.
#4) GET OUT (2017)
It’s nice to know that Hollywood has an affinity for giving comedic talent a shot at drama, in front of and behind the camera. Sometimes the stars align and you win yourself a Get Out, the $175 million sensation that scored writer/director/star Jordan Peele a Best Original Screenplay Academy Award a few weeks back. The odds for such a victory are slim and the lack of racial/social issues in A Quiet Place will hinder its chances at Oscar glory, even with such great reviews. Krasinski's new movie is about a family in fear that’s surrounded by monsters, while Peele’s was about a black guy in fear surrounded by white people. The Academy can tell the difference. That won’t necessarily deter it’s chances at being a similar financial success. If it can attain the same $100+ million, Krasinski might get a future chance at awards contention.
#5) DON’T BREATHE (2016)
From the reviews to the behind-the-scenes relationship that helps market the movie, there are plenty of reasons to watch A Quiet Place. We all loved the shocking success of Get Out because it’s the unexpected that thrills us the most. Nothing excites me more about box office analytics than being wrong! If Infinity War makes $700 million, I’ll be bored (Black Panther just did that with ease); if it makes only $500 million or is the first to break $1 billion domestically, I might actually FEEL something. A Quiet Place is primed to breakout with based on all the comparable factors to Get Out, but with such a different story can we expect similar results?
Maybe not $175 million big but definitely larger than your average thriller, as the premise of having to stay silent throughout the horrific shenanigans of an invasion sounds bone-chilling. Proving that whispering is scarier than screaming is Don’t Breathe, the $89 million earning surprise from the Summer of 2016. When a group of kids break into the house of a blind man, they must quietly creep their way to safety before the hearing-enhanced geezer slaughters the trespassers. The 87% positive reviews were unnaturally high for a horror and helped Breathe breakout. With better reviews, a more appealing cast aided by romance, and the triple-threat that is Krasinski’s first time as a full-blown ringmaster, I expect big things for A Quiet Place.