LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – Talk about scary good.
Director Jordan Peele (L) and cast members Lupita Nyong’o, Evan Alex, Shahadi Wright Joseph, and Winston Duke attend the “Us” premiere at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, New York, U.S., March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
“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 just 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 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.
Universal, Jason Blum, and Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions produced “Us” for $20 million. Since its debut at the South by Southwest Film Festival, “Us” has built up word of mouth. It has a 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, rare praise for the horror genre. It stars Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke as a couple forced to fend off blood-thirsty clones while vacationing with their kids.
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 $34 million, taking its domestic tally past $320 million.
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.
“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 has earned $26 million to date.
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.
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.