It’s official: “A Quiet Place,” the nearly silent thriller starring real-life married couple John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, is the No. 1 movie in the country. The film — also co-written and directed by Krasinski — raked in $50 million at the box office this weekend, crushing its predicted estimate of $20 million and easily beating Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi drama “Ready Player One” ($25 million) and raunchy comedy “Blockers” ($21.4 million).
Everyone has theories about why it did so well: Horror movies, from “Get Out” to “It,” are having a moment. Paramount Pictures got buzz going with a screening at South by Southwest, leading to stellar reviews. The “celebrity couple” factor intrigued people. Etc. But another part of the movie’s success that shouldn’t be overlooked? This marks the first true breakout moment for Krasinski since his original breakout role on NBC’s “The Office,” which debuted in 2005 and ran for nine seasons.
Krasinski only had a few bit parts in movies and TV when he was cast as Jim Halpert, the sarcastic paper salesman known for his GIF-ready facial expressions before GIFs were a thing. While Steve Carell’s portrayal of clueless boss Michael Scott got all the awards attention, Jim quickly became a fan favorite, particularly because of his love triangle with receptionist Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer).
The next step to stardom seemed natural. But as his co-stars such as Carell and Ed Helms got their movie careers going with “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “The Hangover,” respectively, Krasinski could never quite find where he fit in.
Romantic comedies are the natural move for 20-something male TV stars, so he co-starred in “License to Wed” opposite Mandy Moore and “Something Borrowed” with Kate Hudson and Ginnifer Goodwin. Then he was all over the place: He tried dramedy with “Away We Go” alongside Maya Rudolph; he starred in George Clooney’s mostly forgotten “Leatherheads,” and had small parts in “It’s Complicated” and “The Holiday.”
In a recent Vulture profile, Krasinski talked about how he had trouble finding work after being known as Jim for nine years. “The phone wasn’t ringing after ‘The Office’ ended,” Krasinski said. “People needed to let the character of Jim be — or they didn’t think I could do anything else. So it forced me down other paths.”
So, to keep a foothold in the industry, he started directing, with “The Hollars” and “Brief Interviews With Hideous Men.” At one point, he auditioned for the lead role in “Captain America,” but it went to Chris Evans. Krasinski told Vulture, “I can’t tell you how many times my agent has called me and said, ‘So Ryan Gosling got the part.’ ” He added, “That’s how it should go, by the way — he’s Ryan Gosling!”
In 2016, Krasinski made headlines for getting ripped for a role in Michael Bay’s “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.” Incidentally, that led to Bay’s production team contacting him about “A Quiet Place”; and although the producers told the Los Angeles Times they first envisioned him as just the lead actor, they were happy to let him co-write and direct the project.
Clearly, it paid off in a big way — sometimes, Hollywood is all about timing. Krasinski already has his next big project lined up, as he stars as the title character in Amazon’s “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,” which debuts in August. The huge success of “A Quiet Place” will certainly get Krasinski’s phone ringing now, and along with this new starring role, it could create a domino effect that he’s been looking for since “The Office.”