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Box Office: Jordan Peele’s ‘Get Out’ Scares Up $1.8 Million on Thursday

Jordan Peele’s horror-thriller “Get Out” has opened with an impressive $1.8 million at 2,240 sites in Thursday night preview screenings starting at 7 p.m.

Universal-Blumhouse’s thriller about a young African-American man’s visit to his white girlfriend’s estate is coming into the market amid strong critical support with a rare 100% “fresh” score on Rotten Tomatoes. “Get Out” expands to 2,773 North American theaters on Friday, where it’s expected to gross $18 million on its opening weekend and challenge the third weekend of “The Lego Batman Movie” for box office leadership.

The film, starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford, is the feature directorial for Peele, best known for his Comedy Central series “Key & Peele.” The Fandango online ticket service reported that “Get Out” was accounting for a leading 32% of its sales Friday.

“Get Out” should be highly profitable, given its modest $4.5 million price tag. Low-budget horror specialist Blumhouse also originated “Split” along with the Purge, Insidious and Paranormal Activity franchises.

“Split” scored a similar number with $2 million in its Thursday night previews on Jan. 20 on its way to a $40 million opening weekend. The M. Night Shyamalan vehicle, starring James McAvoy, has topped $126 million at the domestic box office.

Warner Bros.’ “The Lego Batman Movie” could retain the top spot during the Academy Awards weekend with a forecast of about $20 million. The animated hit has held first place for two consecutive weekends.

Universal’s third weekend of “Fifty Shades Darker” and Lionsgate’s third outing of “John Wick: Chapter 2” will likely be battling for third place in the $10 million range.

Open Road’s “Collide,” an action thriller with Nicholas Hoult and Felicity Jones, is expected to launch quietly with a $3 million to $5 million opening when it hits 2,045 locations, a muted result for the $21 million film. IM Global partnered with China’s DMG on financing the film and limited its financial exposure through foreign pre-sales. The picture was originally set up at Relativity Media, but left the company during its financial collapse.

The animated “Rock Dog” will also open at 2,077 locations and should take in about $5 million. The story centers on a Tibetan Mastiff who dreams of making it in the music world. It’s a Chinese-American co-production with backing from Huayi Brothers, and carries a $60 million price tag. Lionsgate is handling U.S. distribution.

Fox’s “Hidden Figures,” with a trio of Academy Awards nominations, is the top performer among awards season contenders with $146 million domestically. Lionsgate’s “La La Land,” with a record-tying 14 Oscar nominations, has topped $135 million at the U.S. box office.

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