‘Us’ Opens as an Even Bigger Horror Hit for Jordan Peele

‘Us’ Opens as an Even Bigger Horror Hit for Jordan Peele

Jordan Peele is holding a new mirror up to society, and this weekend proved just how many moviegoers want a look at its reflection.

Universal’s “Us,” the latest politically resonant horror movie from Peele, sold an estimated $70.3 million in tickets over the weekend, easily leading the domestic box office and more than doubling the opening-weekend ticket sales of $33.4 million for Peele’s smash-hit directorial debut, “Get Out.”

It makes sense that audiences were primed to see “Us”: When “Get Out” was released, Peele was still best known for sketch comedy, not directing horror movies. The runaway success of “Get Out” (it went on to gross around $175 million) was a product of euphoric reviews and strong word-of-mouth as the movie dominated the cultural discussion in the days and weeks after its release.

[Read how Lupita Nyong’o created that creepy voice.]

Even so, few predicted this level of success for “Us.” Analysts expected its first-weekend ticket sales to land closer to the $40 million mark.

The movie stars Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex as a family tormented by their evil, scissor-wielding doppelgängers. The film’s generally strong reviews (it holds a 94 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes) likely helped sustain excitement going into this weekend; many critics said the movie is both scarier and more ambitious than “Get Out,” although perhaps lacking that film’s clarity.

[Read our critic’s review of “Us.”]

The promise of Peele’s scares-with-a-message was more than enough to deliver “Us” the No. 1 spot. It unseated Disney’s “Captain Marvel,” which landed in second place with about $35 million in its third weekend, according to Comscore, which compiles box-office data.

Both “Us” and “Captain Marvel” are diverse movies, with the former led by black actors and a black director and the latter starring a female superhero, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe film to do so.

Third place went to Paramount’s animated “Wonder Park,” which sold $9 million in tickets. And CBS Films and Lionsgate’s romantic drama “Five Feet Apart” came in a close fourth, with about $8.8 million. Both of those movies were in their second weekends.

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