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Jordan Peele, once best known for his work on the Comedy Central sketch show Key and Peele, announced himself as a serious filmmaker to watch with 2017’s Get Out. Now he’s back with his follow-up, Us, and if there’s any sophomore slump, it doesn’t look like it will be at the box office. The early tracking is in and Us is looking at a $35 million opening weekend.
The early tracking just hit today, and could/possibly will get adjusted in time, but right now Us is projected to open with $35 million, with the potential to possibly go as high as $40 million, according to Deadline. An opening of $35 million would put Us just above the $33.3 million Get Out did when it opened in February two years ago.
Get Out had serious legs instead of being front-loaded at the box office. It rode critical acclaim to and word of mouth to make $176 million domestically and $255.4 million worldwide, and eventually also earned four Academy Award nominations and one win for Jordan Peele's screenplay.
Us could find itself in a position to outperform these initial forecasts depending how things go in the coming weeks. Us has its world premiere at SXSW on March 8. Last year A Quiet Place, which was also tracking to open in the mid $30 million range, opened at $50 million after making a ton of noise at its SXSW premiere. Horror is hot right now and similar buzz would certainly help Us to also overperform.
Jordan Peele’s film also may have an advantageous release date in terms of competition. Universal moved Us from its previous release date of March 15 to March 22. That puts it one week further away from Disney’s Captain Marvel, which will be in its third weekend now when Us opens. While that film is not necessarily direct competition, there is probably some audience overlap as there isn’t any other new competition from major studios.
Opening opposite Us is Hotel Mumbai, starring Dev Patel and Armie Hammer, but the next big release is Dumbo on March 29. Competition for the horror dollar doesn’t come until April 15 with the remake of Pet Sematary.
And make no mistake, Us is a pure horror movie. Jordan Peele has acknowledged that Get Out and its status as a ‘social thriller’ wasn’t his initial intention, and this time he really wants to make something that is firmly in the horror genre. We only have the trailers to go on so far, but it looks like he has succeeded because this movie looks like the stuff of nightmares.
Us tells the story of a family whose peace and happiness is shattered when a group of döppelgangers begin to terrorize them. Us stars Winston Duke, Lupita Nyong’o, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex.
Us opens on March 22. Check out our 2019 release schedule to keep track of all the biggest movies headed to theaters this year.