Nope: Peele’s Sci-Fi Horror Earns $44M Opening

The original sci-fi horror mashup reunites the filmmaker with his Get Out star and Oscar winner Daniel Kaluuya.

Acclaimed filmmaker Jordan Peele’s latest film, Nope, topped the domestic box-office in its opening with estimated $44 million from 3,785 theaters, according to Universal’s weekend estimates.

While it’s certainly solid start, the sci-fi horror adventure pic came in well behind the huge $71 million bow of Peele’s Us in spring 2019. Either way, Nope still scored the biggest launch for an original studio screenplay since Us after besting the $41 million debut Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which was released in late July 2019.

Nope had been tracking for a domestic debut in the $50 million range heading into the weekend. It pulled in an estimated $19.3 million on Friday alone, including a strong $6.4 million in Thursday previews, and continues the rebound at the 2022 box office.

 

Daniel Kaluuya NOPE

 

(L-R) Jordan Peele and Daniel Kaluuya attend the world premiere of Universal Pictures' "NOPE" at TCL Chinese Theatre on July 18, 2022 in Hollywood, California.

In 2017, Peele and Universal redefined the horror genre with Get Out, followed by Us two years later. This time out, the innovative filmmaker interjects sci-fi into the mix, as well as continuing to explore themes of race and culture. Sci-fi, however, can be a difficult genre.

Nope reunites Peele with Get Out actor Daniel Kaluuya, who stars alongside Keke Palmer and Steven Yeun.

They play the residents of a remote town outside of Los Angeles who attempt to document a mysterious event involving an unidentified flying object.

There’s also a showbiz angle: Palmer and Kaluuya play siblings who run a Hollywood horse ranch they inherited from their father (black Westerns are referenced throughout the film).

Along with directing, Peele wrote and co-produced the Universal movie via his Monkeypaw Productions. He used Imax cameras to shoot parts of Nope, which is getting a major push from the large-format exhibitor (nine of the top 10 runs on Friday were Imax locations). And for the weekend, Imax and other large-format premium locations accounted for at least 34 percent of the overall gross. Younger adults made up the adult of the audience, with almost 70 percent of all ticket buyers between the ages of 18 and 34 (the overall gender split was 55 males and 45 female).

Like his previous films, Nope is benefiting from an ethnically diverse audience, with Black audiences in particular over-indexing. An estimated 35 percent of ticket buyers on opening weekend were White, followed by Black (33 percent), Latino (20 percent) and Asian (8 percent), according to Universal.

Get Out, Peele’s directorial debut, launched to $33 million in 2017 on its way to becoming a water-cooler sensation and grossing north of $255 million globally against a miniscule $4.5 million budget.

Us ultimately made $255 million-plus at the worldwide box office, scoring another win for the studio and the filmmaker. The trio of movies directed by Peele have all opened at No. 1 domestically, and are all rated R.

Nope has a lower critics’ score than Us and Get Out, which sits at a stellar 98 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Nope currently rests at 82 percent, while Us boasts a score of 93 percent.

Nope earned a B CinemaScore from audiences, the same grade as UsGet Out earned an A-.

Peele’s films are getting more expensive to make as he widens his scope, although they are still modestly budgeted for a Hollywood studio event film. Us cost just under $20 million to produce; Nope cost $68 million.