LOS ANGELES • Get Out, a meet- the-parents-gone-wrong horror film, was an instant hit over the weekend, selling more than US$30 million (S$42 million) in tickets in its first three days in theatres. And critics adored it.
According to the aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes, it received 100 per cent positive reviews. None of the films nominated for Best Picture for this year's Academy Awards achieved this feat.
But the real kicker is that Get Out, written and directed by Jordan Peele, belongs to a genre that has long been seen in Hollywood as a cinematically unserious money grab. It may be time to reassess that notion.
Get Out (Universal), which is really about racism in the liberal white suburbs, is the latest in a string of horror films that attempt to contribute to America's cultural conversation in a meaningful way.
Don't Breathe (Sony), a critical and commercial hit from last summer about young thieves who prey on a blind man, was really a commentary on social decay.
The Gift (STX Entertainment), a well-reviewed stalker film from 2015, ruminated on bullying. The Witch (A24), set in New England in the 1630s, became a breakout horror success last year by exploring religious fanaticism and groupthink. The Purge horror series (Universal) is about gun control.
Like the Purge movies, about people unleashed on a government-set schedule to get crime out of their systems, Get Out was made by Jason Blum's Blumhouse Productions, which has a model of making movies for relative pennies, allowing film-makers more freedom. Get Out cost about US$4.5 million.
Starring Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams and shepherded by Mr Couper Samuelson, Blumhouse's president of feature films, it was easily the No. 1 movie of the weekend. The rest of the top five were holdovers, starting with The Lego Batman Movie (Warner Bros), which took in about US$19 million in second place, for a three-week domestic total of US$133 million, according to comScore.