AP – Jordan Peele’s UFO thriller Nope topped the North American charts in its first weekend in theaters with an estimated USD44 million in ticket sales, Universal Pictures said on Sunday.
Though it doesn’t come close to the USD71 million debut of Us, it is still significantly impressive for an original, R-rated film – and the biggest of the pandemic for an original screenplay.
Nope, which opened on 3,785 theatres in the United States (US). and Canada, is the most expensive film Peele has made to date with a reported USD68 million production budget, not accounting for marketing and promotion costs. Us cost around USD20 million to produce, while Get Out was made for only USD4.5 million. Both films ultimately made over USD255 million worldwide.
Critics were largely positive about Nope, which stars Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer and Steven Yeun and pays homage to UFO films like Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Signs, and is currently resting at 83 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes.
“It’s a great number,” said Jim Orr, Universal’s president of domestic distribution. “It’s amazing how broadly it’s playing too.”
“Jordan Peele crafted an incredible film,” Orr added. “And it is absolutely something that should be seen on the big screen.”
The film got off to a strong start with USD6.4 million from Thursday previews. By the end of Friday, it had grossed USD19.3 million. About 68 per cent of the opening weekend audience was between the ages of 18 and 34, which is the “sweet spot” for a horror film. Audiences were also quite diverse according to exit polls, reporting 35 per cent Caucasian, 33 per cent Black, 20 per cent Hispanic and eight per cent Asian.
And many chose to experience Nope in IMAX, which accounted for about USD5.2 million of its first weekend earnings.
“It’s incredibly gratifying to see a visionary like Jordan Peele, who represents a new generation of filmmakers, use our technology in pioneering ways and create an experience meant to be seen in IMAX,” said IMAX CEO Rich Gelfond.
Word of mouth is going to be critical in the coming weeks for Nope, which begins its international rollout on August 12.
“An opening weekend for a Jordan Peele film is not the right metric. We have to see where it is a month from now,” said Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for Comscore.
“Nope could have solid, long-term playability as the word gets out. One need only look at Elvis to see that a film doesn’t have to open huge to be a big success.”
Nope knocked Thor: Love and Thunder to second place in its third weekend. The Disney and Marvel blockbuster starring Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman added USD22.1 million, bringing its global total to USD598.2 million.
Universal’s Minions: The Rise of Gru landed in third place with USD17.7 million in its fourth weekend. The animated pic has made USD640.3 million globally.
The Sony-released adaptation of the bestseller Where the Crawdads Sing, meanwhile, is enjoying a modest second weekend drop. The film starring Daisy Edgar-Jones added an estimated USD10.3 million from 3,650 locations. It’s now grossed USD38.3 million domestically.
Paramount’s Top Gun: Maverick rounded out the top five in its ninth weekend with an additional USD10 million. Earlier this week it surpassed The Avengers to become ninth biggest domestic release of all time with its total now sitting at USD635.6 million.
In limited release, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On continued its expansion and made USD846,950 from 590 theatres.