Jordan Peele has been a recognizable face for some time now in large part due to his comedic portrayal of President Barack Obama and his time on the hugely successful Key and Peele TV series. But being a creator and star of a sketch comedy TV show and being the director of a feature film are different things. There is another level of scrutiny that comes with having your name attached to the success or failure of an entire project. For Jordan Peele, the release of his directorial debut, Get Out, which he also wrote, came with some major nerves, largely because of when the film was released. As he explained...
That first weekend it came out was Oscar weekend. I remember feeling nervous, like 'Oh, no. The Sunday of the weekend my movie is coming out is when all film lovers will be home.' When I discovered that box office grew from Saturday to Sunday, I knew that it was clicking and working. That being said, just getting the movie finished and liking the movie itself was the big exhale. Nothing really beats that. I was kind of like, '[Even] if this things flops, I've got one of my favorites, in a way.'
It is funny to hear this in hindsight considering how well received and successful Get Out has been, but I imagine having your very first film release the same weekend that the very best in cinema is being honored has got to mess with your head a bit. Having such a personal project that you both wrote and directed being a part of the news cycle with beloved Oscar fare like Moonlight and La La Land must be rather intimidating. Even if the film ultimately flopped, having a film finally complete and out for audiences to see has to be a huge weight off your shoulders. As Jordan Peele told Entertainment Weekly, it would have been one of his favorites regardless. Of course, Get Out didn't flop, and it did click with audiences, and its box office did grow. And it continued to grow.
To date, Get Out has grossed more than $254.3 million. While that might not sound too impressive in the wake of Star Wars: The Last Jedi's opening weekend, it did so on a budget of only $4.5 million. That is a wild return on investment that you can argue makes it the biggest box office win of the year. Beyond just the financial success, the film is a critical hit as well. Though Jordan Peele may have been nervous about his film releasing Oscar weekend, he now sits in a position where his film may be in serious contention to win Oscars. Get Out is already on many year-end top ten lists, including AFI's and the National Board of Review's. The horror hit is also nominated for Best Motion Picture at the Golden Globes, albeit in the somewhat debatable category of Musical or Comedy.
A stellar box office, glowing critical acclaim and a cultural resonance that has lasted long past its theatrical run have all proven that Jordan Peele's nerves were misplaced. Regardless of what awards Get Out does or doesn't win, any future nerves Jordan Peele feels as he takes on bigger projects will be eclipsed by the excitement film fans feel for the fresh and original vision from this exciting new storyteller. Not bad for a film that he feared he would never get made.