With the massive $70 million opening weekend of Us, director Jordan Peele is doing something we haven’t really seen outside of Christopher Nolan among this generation of directors: He’s making huge, blockbuster original movies, and what may be even more impressive is that Peele didn’t have the The Dark Knight movies to boost his profile. Peele came out of the gate with his directorial debut, Get Out, and earned $255 million worldwide on a film that cost $4.5 million to make. With Us, Peele has duplicated that success. Us officially holds the title for biggest opening ever for an original R-rated film, as well as the highest opening ever for an original horror movie (besting John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place). Numbers like these for an original flick are practically unheard of in the era of sequels, reboots, and cinematic universes.
The $70 million opening of Us represents more than twice the opening of Get Out ($33 million). It’s the second biggest opening of the year. It’s the biggest March opening ever for an original live-action pic. It’s the third biggest opening ever for any R-rated horror film. Note, too, that Us only cost $20 million to produce. Peele is the next Shyamalan, only Shyamalan has never had a movie open as high as $70 million.
It helps, of course, that Jordan Peele’s films are also very good. Us fared very well with critics, who gave it a 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Moviegoers didn’t love it as much as Get Out, which received an A Cinemascore, but a B Cinemascore for Us is solid for a horror film, particularly one with a twist ending (some moviegoers may have also been slightly put off by the sheer amount of terror they might have experienced watching the film). In either respect, it’s a huge win for Universal, and further evidence of the auteur-ish power of Jordan Peele. Jordan Peele doesn’t need to direct a franchise movie. Jordan Peele is his own franchise. “Written and directed by Jordan Peele” is its own powerful form of marketing.
Despite its massive success, however, Us didn’t do much to slow Captain Marvel, which held the two spot this weekend and put up another $35 million. It has now earned $321 million stateside, while it has earned $910 million worldwide, surpassing Iron Man, Thor: Ragnarok, Wonder Woman and Spider-Man along the way. It’s only been out for 16 days. It’s also tracking ahead of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and behind Captain America: Civil War, still poised to become the 7th biggest MCU film stateside.
The rest of the top ten this week was largely holdovers, save for number seven, which went to Gloria Bell, the Julianne Moore romance that expanded into a little more than 500 theaters this weekend and earned $1.8 million ($2.4 million overall).
In at number three, Cole Sprouse’s Five Feet Apart continues to do well, falling only 31 percent in its second weekend. It earned $9 million to bring its 10-day total to $26.7 million. Wonder Park meanwhile, is limping, also earning $0 million to bring its total to $29 million. Both films have earned about the same amount of money in the same amount of time, but the difference between their budgets is about $93 million.
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is doing just fine, earning another $6.8 million to bring its five-week total to $145 million stateside, plus around $350 million overseas. A Madea Family Funeral, likewise, is coasting along, earning $4.5 million in it fourth week to bring its total to $65.8 million.
No Manches Frida 2 made a second appearance in the top ten, finishing eighth this week with $1.7 million and $6.6 million overall. The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part is up to $103 million after a $1.1 million weekend. Alita: Battle Angel finished in tenth place. It has now earned $83.7 million after a $1 million weekend, although its foreign totals are a few dollars short of $400 million.
Next weekend, we will find out if Tim Burton has anything left in the tank when his Dumbo opens in over 4,000 theaters along with the wide release of Harmony Korine’s Beach Bum and the faith-based film Unplanned.