Us, the second film by director Jordan Peele, frightened moviegoers and shattered box office expectations, after its nationwide opening on Friday.
Industry experts expected the horror film to pull in between $40 million and $45 million, according to CNN, but instead it drew $70.25 million in the North America. That is more than three times the movie’s production budget of $20 million.
The film that is rated R, stars Lupita Nyong’O and Winston Duke as parents trying to fend off attacks by evil lookalikes, and smashed the $33.4 million milestone that Peele’s first horror hit, Get Out, drew in during its opening weekend in 2017.
CNN also reports, that Us made $87 million worldwide.
If that was not impressive, the film is history making. According to Forbes, Us is the third highest grossing R-rated horror film opening of all time. The two films ahead of it are It ($123 million in 2017) and the remake of Halloween ($76 million in 2018). It placed right behind James Cameron’s Avatar that dropped in 2009 with an opening weekend of $77 million as the second highest grossing live-action original film of any kind. Not bad for a film that stars a predominately all Black cast.
The New York Times suggested audience’s were probably primed for another hit from Peele because of the surprise generated by Get Out, an unexpected hit from a director that had been known previously for his work in the comedy sketch show Key and Peele and from Saturday Night Live.
In an interview with National Public Radio, Peele said that he wants audiences in the movie about doppelgangers to consider the fact that the nation right now is in a duality of good and evil. The movie also is intended to help people turn a mirror on themselves, he said.
“I think a lot of people are catching onto the fact that there’s a lot of United States/American imagery in this,” Peele said. “And the duality of this country and our beliefs and our demons, I think, is on display.”
He added, “But I think Us is bigger than that. And I think one of the reasons this movie has an expansiveness is because ‘us’ is subjective. Everybody thinks of the term ‘us’ in different ways — it can be ‘us’ the family, ‘us’ the town, ‘us’ the country, ‘us’ humanity. I think in the simplest form, the very nature of ‘us’ means there is a ‘them,’ right?”