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.