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Horror flick Us stuns with US$70m haul in opening weekend
TALK about scary good. Us, the second directorial effort from Jordan Peele, pulled off a stunning debut over the weekend, generating US$70 million in ticket sales 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 (US$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 US$38 million to US$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 US$33 million in 2017.
Abroad, Us launched with US$16.7 million from 47 international territories for a global start of US$86.95 million.
"Put simply, Jordan Peele is a genius," said Jim Orr, Universal's president of domestic distribution. "He's managed to tap into something that the domestic box office can't get enough of. People can't wait to see what he does next."
Universal and Peele's Monkeypaw Productions produced Us for about US$20 million. Since its debut at the South by Southwest Film Festival, Us has built up word of mouth. It has a 94 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, rare praise for the horror genre and a testament to Peele's ability to deliver scares that also encourage audiences to think. It stars Lupita Nyong'o and Winston Duke as a couple forced to fend off blood-thirsty clones while vacationing with their kids.
Though the domestic box office has been struggling to match 2018's record pace, it's been a good year for Universal so far. The studio now boasts the second, third, and fourth-best opening weekends of 2019 with Us, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (US$55 million), and Glass (US$40 million), respectively.
As a whole, revenues are still behind 17 per cent compared to last year, according to Comscore. That margin is shrinking, however, thanks to the success of Captain Marvel and now Us. REUTERS