Jordan Peele's 'Us' Delivers a Mind-Blowing $70 Million Debut
by Brad Brevet
March 24, 2019
Universal's release of Jordan Peele's Us dominated the domestic box office, not only out-performing the opening weekends for several recent horror hits, but delivering the second largest opening ever for a live-action, original picture, topping the weekend box office with over $70 million. As a result, the 2019 box office continues to improve over the month of March after struggling to begin the year. Overall, this weekend was the third straight to outperform the same weekend last year.
At #1, with an estimated $70.25 million (~49.6% of all tickets sold among the top 12 films), Us topped the weekend box office with the third largest opening of all-time for an R-rated horror film, blowing away 2018's The Nun ($53.8m opening) and placing behind Universal's own Halloween, which opened with $76.2 million last October. The film also decimated the opening for Peele's previous film Get Out, which was a massive hit back in 2017 following a $33.3 million debut. Get Out would go on to gross over $176 million domestically, ranking as the third largest horror film of all-time domestically.
One mind-blowing stat is to note that while animated features such as Inside Out ($90.4m), Zootopia ($75m), The Incredibles ($70.46m) and Finding Nemo ($70.25m) opened higher, the $70.25 million debut for Us is the largest opening for a live-action, original film since Avatar's $77 million debut back in 2009. On a list dominated by sequels it's not often original content is seen to climb quite so high.
Additionally, Us delivered the largest opening for an original, R-rated film, topping Universal's Ted ($54.4m) not to mention the largest opening for an original horror film, topping A Quiet Place ($50.2m). The performance comes with a "B" CinemaScore, which is a notch below the "A-" for Get Out, but is still a solid audience grade for a horror film. The overall opening weekend audience was split 50/50 among males and females and 53% of the overall audience was aged 25 or older.
Looking ahead at its domestic prospects, it's not easy to determine just how high Us will climb. While Get Out pushed over $176 million, Halloween finished its run with $159.3 million, though the latter was certainly a product of nostalgia and seasonal relevance. That said, one would expect Us to play closer to Get Out and push over $200 million, but how far over? On average, films that open anywhere from $65-75 million deliver a 3.36x multiplier, which would suggest a domestic performance around $236+ million, which seems like as good a bet as any right now.
Internationally, Us debuted in 47 markets and brought in an estimated $16.7 million led by a $3.67 million opening in the UK to go along with a $1.98 million France debut, $1.36 million in Germany and $1.17 million launch in Spain. Next weekend's key markets include openings in Korea, Russia and Australia followed by openings in Italy (Apr 4), Mexico (May 3) and finally Japan on August 23.
Disney's release of Marvel's Captain Marvel fell to second place as it begins its third weekend in release, dipping -48.5% and delivering an estimated $35 million for a domestic cume that now tops $321 million. The performance makes it the tenth largest domestic release in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and places it just outside the top twenty among all superhero films.
Internationally, Captain Marvel delivered an estimated $52.1 million from 54 markets, pushing the film's international cume to $588.8 million for a global tally topping $910 million. The film now ranks as the seventh largest global release in the MCU and will soon become the seventh film in the franchise to top $1 billion worldwide.
In third, is Paramount's Wonder Park, which dipped -43% in its sophomore frame, delivering an estimated $9 million for a domestic cume that is now just shy of $30 million. The film also added $5 million internationally this weekend for an overseas cume that now totals $10.2 million.
Lionsgate's release of CBS Films's Five Feet Apart dropped -34% in its second weekend, pulling in an estimated $8.75 million for a domestic cume that stands at $26.5 million. The film also expanded its international footprint this weekend, now playing in 37 markets from which it brought in an estimated $6.2 million for an overall international cume that stands at $6.3 million. This weekend saw the film deliver a #1 finish in Italy with an estimated $1.7 million along with a $1.4 million opening in Brazil and $1.1 million debut in Mexico. Next weekend the film will open in Australia followed by debuts in South Korea (Apr 11) and Russia (May 1).
Rounding out the top five is Universal and DreamWorks Animation's How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, dipping just -30% for a $6.5 million weekend and a domestic cume that now tops $145 million as it enters its fifth week in release. Internationally the film added another $6 million from 62 markets still in play, pushing its worldwide cume over $488 million. The film still ranks as the third largest release in the franchise worldwide, but will soon top the original's $494.9 million globally, though the first sequel's $621.5 million global tally appears well out of reach.
Outside the top five, A24's Gloria Bell had a strong expansion this weekend, delivering an estimated $1.8 million from 654 theaters (+615) for a $2.5 million domestic cume as the Julianne Moore starrer enters its third weekend in release.
In limited release this weekend Bleecker's Hotel Mumbai brought in an estimated $86,492 from four theaters ($21,623 PTA); IFC's Out of Blue opened in 35 locations with a disappointing $17,682 ($505 PTA); and Sony Classics releases Sunset in three theaters with an estimated $15,006 ($5,002 PTA).
Outside of the overall weekend performances, WB's upcoming release of Shazam! held a special preview event in conjunction with Fandango.com, from which it delivered an estimated $3.3 million. The figure tops the recent performance from How to Train Your Dragon 3, which brought in $2.6 million from Fandango screenings in advance of release and even Aquaman's $2.9 million from Amazon Prime screenings. Shazam! hits theaters in two weeks and to go along with this weekend's screenings, the first reviews dropped this morning and it currently holds a promising 94% rating on RottenTomatoes.
Next weekend will be quite interesting as Us will look to hold on similarly to Get Out, which dipped just -15% in its second weekend, but audiences will have a lot to choose from including the release of Disney's Dumbo, which is tracking well and looking to open in over 4,000 locations along with Neon's The Beach Bum in over 750 theaters and Pure Flix's Unplanned, which will launch in approximately 1,000 locations.
You can check out all of this weekend's estimated results right here and we'll be updating our charts with weekend actuals on Monday afternoon.
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