Jordan Peele proves he's the new Hitchcock with $95-million Us debut

(From left) Us director Jordan Peele and actors Lupita Nyong'o and Winston Duke at the movie's premiere at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City on March 19, 2019.
(From left) Us director Jordan Peele and actors Lupita Nyong'o and Winston Duke at the movie's premiere at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City on March 19, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (BLOOMBERG) - Jordan Peele demonstrated his movie-making chops with the 2017 hit Get Out, a thriller that delivered chills and commentary on US race relations in under two hours. Now the writer-director is back with Us, about a family whose vacation is shattered by intruders who look just like them.

The Universal Pictures release opened as the No. 1 film in North America, registering weekend sales of US$70.3 million (S$95 million) from US and Canadian theatres and toppling Captain Marvel, researcher Comscore Inc. estimated Sunday (March 24) in an email. The tally beat analysts' estimates of US$51 million to US$54 million - and ranked the film among the highest-openings ever for a horror feature.

Universal, a division of Comcast Corp., is off to a fast start in 2019, even up against Walt Disney Co. and its Marvel juggernaut.

Heading into the weekend, Universal was first in domestic sales, with revenue up 40 per cent year to date, buoyed by the sequel to How to Train Your Dragon and the thriller Glass.

Peele made Us for US$20 million. The relatively low cost almost guarantees a profit for the picture if it hits Box Office Pro's long-range forecast of US$147 million in ticket sales over its domestic run.

Peele has been compared to Alfred Hitchcock and even makes cameo appearances in his pictures, like the great British director.

The film, along with returning hits like Captain Marvel, should help theatre owners collectively generate a 13 per cent increase in sales from the same weekend a year earlier, according to estimates from Box Office Pro.

 

As of last weekend, year-to-date sales were down 19 per cent from a year earlier, though exhibitors should make up ground with big releases on the horizon, including Dumbo and Avengers: Endgame.