Audiences responded with a loud “Yep” to Jordan Peele’s sci-fi thriller Nope, which topped the box office in its $44 million debut.
Those ticket sales fell slightly short of forecasts of $50 million and sit between the results of Peele’s first two films, 2017’s Get Out (which opened at $33 million) and 2019’s Us (which opened at $33 million). opened with $71 million). “Nope” may not have cemented a new box office record for Peele, but it demonstrates the director’s popularity in the cinema and marks a strong start for an original R-rated horror film.
In fact, Nope is the highest opening weekend tally for an original film since Us debuted more than three years ago. Yes, that includes Quentin Tarantino’s star-studded Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which started at $41 million in July 2019.
“The opening isn’t as big as ‘We,’ but it’s still very impressive,” said David A. Gross, who runs film consultancy Franchise Entertainment Research. “The weekend count is well above average for the genre.”
It’s worth noting that Peele’s second feature film, Us, a chilling tale about menacing doubles, had a particularly big opening weekend because it followed the smashing success of the Oscar-winning Get Out. After his directorial debut captured the zeitgeist by instilling terror and thought-provoking audiences, the filmmaker’s fans were more than a little excited to see Peele’s next mind-blowing nightmare. Though Peele still has an outsized public goodwill, box office expectations for another anxiety-provoking social thriller, Nope, should have been a bit more earth-bound by comparison.
“Nope” cost $68 million, which is significantly more than “Get Out” (with its meager $4.5 million budget) and “Us” (with its $20 million budget). So the film will require a little more money than Peele’s previous films to turn a profit. Word of mouth will be the key. “Get Out” and “Us” were extremely successful in theaters, each grossing $255 million at the worldwide box office. “Nope” won’t start at the international box office until mid-August.
Nope reunites Peele with Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya — and adds Keke Palmer and Steven Yeun — in the story of siblings living in a California canyon trying to uncover video evidence of a UFO. Critics liked “Nope,” which scored 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. The audience gave the film a “B” grade, the same CinemaScore as “We”.
Jim Orr, President of Domestic Distribution at Universal, points out that “Nope” appeals to all demographics; According to Exit Polls, 35% of ticket buyers were Caucasian, 20% Hispanic, 33% African American, and 8% Asian. He says that bodes well for the theatrical release.
“We’re thrilled with the results this weekend,” says Orr. “Jordan Peele is an incredible talent. His films are layered and thought provoking and incredibly entertaining.”
Since “Nope” was the only new film opening that weekend, several holdover titles rounded out the North American box office charts.
Disney’s Thor: Love and Thunder slipped to second after two weeks at #1. The Marvel Adventures added $22.1 million (down 53%) from 4,370 locations, bringing the film’s domestic balance sheet to $276.2 million. The fourth Thor film has grossed $598 million worldwide and will soon surpass $600 million. It has already surpassed at least one of its predecessors, 2011’s Thor ($449 million worldwide), and it should soon surpass 2013’s Thor: The Dark World ($644 million worldwide). However, it still has a long way to go to match (or beat) 2017’s $853 million charmer Thor: Ragnarok.
Another Universal film, Minions: The Rise of Gru, took third place with $17.7 million from 3,816 venues. After four weeks on the big screen, the animated family film has grossed $297.8 million in North America and $640.2 million worldwide.
Sony’s literary adaptation Where the Crawdads Sing came in at #4 with $10.33 million from 3,650 locations. With its better-than-expected debut this past weekend, the mystery drama has grossed $38.3 million to date.
“Where the Crawdads Sing” beat “Top Gun: Maverick” by a hair’s breadth. Paramount’s blockbuster sequel grossed $10 million from 3,160 theaters in its ninth weekend of release, taking its domestic tally to a whopping $635 million. Maverick recently overtook The Avengers ($623.3 million) to become the ninth-highest-grossing film in domestic box office history. With the Top Gun sequel grossing no less than $10 million in a single weekend, industry experts believe the film has enough juice to soon pass Nos. 7 and 8, each with $659 million US dollars belong to “Titanic” and “Jurassic World” with 653 million dollars.
At the indie box office, A24’s Marcel the Shell With Shoes On continues to expand at a snail’s pace. The film, about a resilient, inch-sized shell (voiced by Jenny Slate), raised $846,950 from 590 venues, the highest theatrical total to date. So far, “Marcel” has grossed $2.8 million.