×

Box Office: Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ Stuns With $70 Million Opening Weekend

Talk about scary good.

Universal’s “Us,” the second directorial effort from Jordan Peele, pulled off a stunning debut, generating $70 million from 3,741 North American locations. That haul is enough to land it the second-best opening weekend of the year behind Disney’s “Captain Marvel” ($153 million). The psychological thriller about a family confronted by a band of doppelgangers nearly doubled projections, which estimated a three-day total in the $38 million to $45 million range.

Us” now has the largest weekend for an original horror movie, surpassing “A Quiet Place,” as well as the biggest launch for an original R-rated film behind “Ted.” It also shattered the benchmark set by Peele’s directorial debut “Get Out,” which launched with $33 million in 2017.

Overseas, “Us” launched with $16.7 million from 47 international territories for a global start of $86.95 million. That number is all the more impressive considering Universal and Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions spent a modest $20 million to make “Us,” not including marking and distribution fees, meaning the movie quadrupled its production cost in less than a week.

“Put simply, Jordan Peele is a genius,” said Jim Orr, Universal’s president of domestic distribution. “He’s managed to tap into something that the domestic box office can’t get enough of. People can’t wait to see what he does next.”

Since its debut at the South by Southwest Film Festival, “Us” has continued to build up enthusiastic word of mouth. It has a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, rare praise for the horror genre and a testament to Peele’s ability to deliver scares that also encourage audiences to think. It stars Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke as a couple forced to fend off blood-thirsty clones while vacationing with their kids.

Though the box office has been struggling to match 2018’s record pace, it’s been a good year for Universal so far. The studio now boasts the second, third, and fourth-best opening weekends of 2019 with “Us,” “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” ($55 million), and “Glass” ($40 million), respectively.

With the better-than-expected debut of “Us,” ticket sales at domestic box office are pacing over 15% ahead of the same frame in 2018, when “Pacific Rim Uprising” was the No. 1 film in North America. As a whole, revenues are still behind 17% compared to last year, according to Comscore. That margin is shrinking, however, thanks to the success of “Captain Marvel” and now “Us.”

While “Us” catered to moviegoers looking for a good fright, “Captain Marvel” was doing some terrifying business of its own during the superhero blockbuster’s third weekend of release. The female-fronted tentpole added another $35 million, taking its domestic tally past $320 million. Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers remains a force at the box office, crossing $900 million in ticket sales globally. As of Sunday, it is now the 10th-biggest superhero movie of all time — a rank that stands to improve as Captain Marvel continues her reign in theaters.

Since no studios dared to release a movie in anticipation of “Us,” a number of holdovers rounded out domestic box office charts. Paramount Pictures’ animated adventure “Wonder Park” landed in third place, earning $9 million for a North American bounty of $29 million. With a number of family-friendly options currently headlining movie theater marquees, “Wonder Park” has struggled to break out among younger moviegoers and find the kind of audience it needs to justify its costly budget.

CBS Films and Lionsgate’s “Five Feet Apart,” a romantic drama about two teens who fall in love while undergoing treatment for cystic fibrosis, secured the fourth slot with $8.5 million. The film, which dropped just 34% from its opening weekend, has earned $26 million to date. That’s a strong result, considering it cost a modest $7 million to produce.

Coming in at No. 5 is Universal and DreamWorks’ “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.” The conclusion to the “Dragon” trilogy pocketed $6.5 million in its fifth weekend in theaters, bringing its domestic total to $145 million. Despite critical acclaim, the latest installment is pacing slightly behind its predecessors, 2010’s “How to Train Your Dragon” and 2014’s “How to Train Your Dragon 2.”

Among specialty releases, Bleecker Street’s “Hotel Mumbai” pulled in $89,492 when it bowed in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles, translating to $21,623 per venue. The R-rated terrorist thriller — starring Dev Patel and Armie Hammer — follows the victims and survivors of the 2008 attacks at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in India. The movie was pulled from theaters in New Zealand following the Christchurch shooting.

More Film

  • Critics' Choice Documentary Awards Nominations 2019

    'Biggest Little Farm' Nabs Seven Critics' Choice Documentary Awards Nominations

    “The Biggest Little Farm” leads nominees for the fourth annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, with seven bids, followed by “Apollo 11” and “They Shall Not Grow Old.” “One Child Nation” received five nominations. The winners will be presented their awards at a gala, hosted by Property Brothers’ Jonathan Scott, on Nov. 10 at BRIC in [...]

  • Margot Robbie, Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron.

    Charlize Theron Could Win Second Oscar for Playing Megyn Kelly in 'Bombshell'

    Charlize Theron walked on stage before a screening of “Bombshell” at West Hollywood’s Pacific Design Center on Sunday night and announced to the crowd, “I’m about to s— myself.” The Oscar winner had good reason to be nervous. The screening of the Jay Roach-directed drama about the fall of Fox News boss Roger Ailes was [...]

  • Abominable Animated Movie

    Vietnam Pulls DreamWorks' 'Abominable' Over Contested Territorial Claims

    Vietnam has banned DreamWorks Animation’s new co-produced feature “Abominable” from its cinemas due to a scene involving a map that depicts China’s contested territorial claims in the South China Sea. The move comes as U.S. entertainment firms such as the NBA, Disney and gaming firm Activision Blizzard are under intense fire from U.S. fans, activists [...]

  • The Captain

    China Box Office: 'The Captain' Flies to $340 Million After Two Weeks on Release

    Patriotic thriller “The Captain” held on to the top spot at the Chinese box office for the second weekend, again leading from propaganda omnibus “My People, My Country.” “The Captain,” also known as “The Chinese Pilot” earned $34.9 million according to consultancy Artisan Gateway, for a two-week cumulative of $343 million. The cumulative for “People,” [...]

  • CGV movie theatre Seoul South KoreaCGV

    Korean Law to Limit Film Releasing Monopolies

    The Korean government is to make it illegal to show a single film on more than 50% of screens nationwide. The move is intended to prevent “screen monopolies by blockbuster films” and to “address unfair competition practices in the film industry.” The Ministry of Culture announced on Monday that it will revise the existing Promotion [...]

  • Jason Flemyng, Casting Director Lucinda Syson

    Jason Flemyng, Lucinda Syson Launch Film and TV Indie The Kernel Factory (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jason Flemyng, fellow actor Ben Starr, casting director Lucinda Syson, and finance expert Cristiano D’Urso are opening The Kernel Factory, a new U.K.-based film and TV indie. Flemyng has a long list of movie credits including “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” and Guy Ritchie’s “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking [...]

  • Hache

    ‘Hache’ Creator, Director Discuss Netflix’s Next Spanish Original, Dropping Nov. 1

    MADRID — On Nov 1 Netflix will drop its fifth Spanish original series, 1960’s-set drug smuggling drama “Hache,” produced by Madrid’s Weekend Studio for the platform. Created by Verónica Fernández and directed by Jorge Torregrossa (“La vida inesperada,” “Cocaine Coast,” “Velvet Collection”), “Hache” tells the story of Helena (Adriana Ugarte), a prostitute who ends up [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content