March 24, 2019
By Rebecca Rubin
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – Talk about scary good.
“Us,” the second directorial effort from Jordan Peele, pulled off a stunning debut, generating $70 million from 3,741 North American locations. That haul is enough to land it the second-best opening weekend of the year behind just Disney’s “Captain Marvel” ($153 million). The psychological thriller about a family confronted by a band of doppelgangers nearly doubled projections, which estimated a three-day total in the $38 million to $45 million range.
“Us” now has the largest weekend for original horror movie, surpassing “A Quiet Place,” as well as the biggest launch for an original R-rated film behind “Ted.” It also shattered the benchmark set by Peele’s directorial debut “Get Out,” which launched with $33 million in 2017.
Universal, Jason Blum, and Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions produced “Us” for $20 million. Since its debut at the South by Southwest Film Festival, “Us” has built up word of mouth. It has a 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, rare praise for the horror genre. It stars Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke as a couple forced to fend off blood-thirsty clones while vacationing with their kids.
While “Us” catered to moviegoers looking for a good fright, “Captain Marvel” was doing some terrifying business of its own during the superhero blockbuster’s third weekend of release. The female-fronted tentpole added another $34 million, taking its domestic tally past $320 million.
Since no studios dared to release a movie in anticipation of “Us,” a number of holdovers rounded out domestic box office charts. Paramount Pictures’ animated adventure “Wonder Park” landed in third place, earning $9 million for a North American bounty of $29 million.
“Five Feet Apart,” a romantic drama about two teens who fall in love while undergoing treatment for cystic fibrosis, secured the fourth slot with $8.5 million. The film has earned $26 million to date.
Coming in at No. 5 is Universal and DreamWorks’ “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.” The conclusion to the “Dragon” trilogy pocketed $6.5 million in its fifth weekend in theaters, bringing its domestic total to $145 million.
Among specialty releases, Bleecker Street’s “Hotel Mumbai” pulled in $89,492 when it bowed in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles, translating to $21,623 per venue. The R-rated terrorist thriller — starring Dev Patel and Armie Hammer — follows the victims and survivors of the 2008 attacks at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in India. The movie was pulled from theaters in New Zealand following the Christchurch shooting.