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Hollywood suspense....followed by a big payoff Tuesday, as "A Quiet Place II" swept the box office with the biggest weekend ticket sales of the pandemic.
The John Krasinski post-apocalyptic nail-biter brought in a better-than-expected $48 million between Friday and Sunday - that's a record so far for an industry that's recovering from being forced to go dark in March 2020.
Throw in the Memorial Day holiday and the Paramount Pictures flick likely took in close to $60 million, according to early estimates.....
That's enough to push the total U.S. weekend box office to more than $100 million for the first time in more than year, according to Comscore.
The numbers are fueling hopes that Hollywood is in the midst of a long-awaited comeback as seating capacity restrictions are eased in a number of big cities and the largest theater chains scrap mask requirements in key markets like New York City.
The early box office success of "A Quiet Place II" is also promising since the movie doesn't have to compete with the little screen. Unlike Disney's "Cruella", which debuted this weekend in theaters and on the Disney+ streaming movie service, and Warners Bros., which is releasing all its movies this year at the same time at theaters and on its HBO Max streaming service, Paramount Studios decided to release "A Quiet Place II" in theaters only with a 45-day head-start ahead of its streaming platform Paramount Plus.
That's good news for AMC, the world's largest theater chain. The meme-stock surged on Tuesday as small investors bet on its recovery.
The stock also took a leg higher as AMC on Tuesday said it raised $230 million in an equity sale. The funds will be used to invest in its existing theaters.
The stock was up 21 percent in early Tuesday trade and has skyrocketed more than 1,000 percent so far this year.