Jordan Peele‘s highly anticipated horror film ‘Us‘ has the industry seeing double as it earned an incredible $35 Million Doppelgängers (= $70 million dollars) opening weekend, and knocked Marvel’s superheroine saga Captain Marvel from the number 1 spot. That’s a lot of bunny rabbits for Universal, as well as a pair of golden scissors for Peele who is red hot right now!
Although expectations were high, with ‘Us’ being shown in 3,741 theaters across the country, the boxoffice take for March 22-24 was nearly double the initial projections. Original estimates had the sweet spot somewhere between $38 million to $48 million. ‘Us’ also breaks Peele’s own 2017 boxoffice intake for ‘Get Out’ that scaled in at $33 million, and earned him an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. ‘Us’ maintained a 100% Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes until opening day.
‘Us’ reconfirms the adage that the horror genre tends to have the greatest ROI of any genre: the film was made for $20 million and has already tripled its original investment in only a four-day run. As a result, look for the major studios to start tripping over each to get into the horror game going forward. That’s good for horror fans, but only if the directorial talent harnessed genuinely appreciates the horror space and is not just looking for a stepping stone. Remember, Peele readily and passionately claims his horror heritage as a lifelong horrorphile. And let’s not forget ORIGINALITY and a great cast, which ‘Us’ has in spades. Originality may be a harder lift for a town currently suffering from a bad case of sequelitis and jonzing to the knees for re-imagined retro fodder.
We’re also keeping an eye open to see if Peele’s golden touch carries over to his TV series, The Twilight Zone, which is an homage to the original fantasy, horror, mystery serial that ran from 1959–1964, and was produced and narrated by the legendary Rod Serling. Peele will narrate the new series, scheduled to air April 1st on the CBS All Access streaming service. Suddenly the venture doesn’t seem as much of a stretch, and we can’t imagine anyone is happier for Peele’s weekend boxoffice win outside the horror fandom universe than the suits at CBS Corporation.
In any case, let’s continue to ingest this sweet historical milestone for horror films and fans, and people of color making them (!), while the victory is still fresh. Ashé.