Jordan Peele's Us easily won the box office this weekend by scoring the biggest opening weekend for an original horror movie of all-time. Back in 2017, Peele announced himself as one of this era's most exciting and unique filmmaking voices with Get Out, a satirical look at contemporary American race relations that was equal parts entertaining and terrifying. Get Out performed extremely well at the box office and received widespread critical praise, winning the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. As such, Peele's second film, Us, was highly-anticipated by cinephiles.
Fortunately Peele was able to avoid the sophomore jinx with his latest endeavor, as Us was widely acclaimed following its premiere at the SXSW Festival earlier this month. Critics walked away impressed with Peele's continuing maturation as a director, ambitious story, and the performances of the cast (particularly Lupita Nyong'o). Because of that enthusiastic word-of-mouth, audiences couldn't wait to see Us for themselves and they showed up to support the film in droves.
According to Box Office Mojo, Us grossed $70.2 million domestically in its first three days, which is the largest debut for an original horror movie ever. In fact, it's the greatest opening weekend for an original live-action film in general since Avatar ($77 million) a decade ago. Us was initially projected to earn as much as $40 million, so it soared past those expectations.
There are a few reasons to explain this turn of events. The success of Get Out almost certainly played a role; a couple years ago, Peele was an unknown quantity as a director, and viewers weren't sure what to expect. This time, however, Us was firmly on people's radars from the moment it was announced. It's also been some time since a legitimately creepy, R-rated horror movie hit the scene, and there was clearly a hunger and demand amongst genre fans to see something new in theaters. Us helped fill a void and continued the box office's resurgence following a very slow winter. Between this and Captain Marvel (which came in second over the weekend with $35 million), March proved to be a nice rebound for the marketplace overall.
Us becoming a runaway success (it's already turned a healthy profit against its $20 million budget) is great news and only increases Peele's clout as a filmmaker. After Get Out, he received multiple offers to helm franchise films, but opted to craft another compelling original thriller - a decision that obviously paid off in spades. It'll be interesting to see what he chooses to do next, but with back-to-back smashes under his belt, Peele will likely have the freedom to do whatever he wants as he further cements his status as this generation's master of suspense.
Source: Box Office Mojo
- Us (2019) release date: Mar 22, 2019