Jordan Peele’s ‘Nope’ earns $19.5 million on Friday
First, a huge disclaimer. Yes, I will delve into why Jordan Peele Nope (exam) opened maybe a little smaller than expected or hoped. However, there isn’t a single filmmaker other than maybe (*maybe*) Chris Nolan and (in China specifically) Wu Jing for whom a $19.54 million opening day for a movie R-rated live original would require some explanation or reaction other than popping champagne bottles. In some ways, these are the hardest weekends to cover (cough-Shrek forever-cough). We have a movie opening with what is objectively an excellent number but below most expectations. Thus, I have to carefully explain why the gross is inferior without making it look like a failure. It may be worth discussing why Nope seeks to open closer to The Conjuring 2 that the nun But grab a salt shaker ’cause we’re gonna need some grains.
So, it looks like Jordan Peele’s UFO invasion thriller “only” opened with $19.54 million on its first day of domestic release. Assuming weekend legs between We ($71 million vs. $29 million on Friday) and halloween kills ($49 million from a Friday of $23 million) assumes a likely opening weekend between $42 million and $48 million. That’s just shy of Friday’s $22.83 million / $49 million opening weekend. halloween kills, which currently holds the “Covid-era R-rated record” and was concurrently available on Peacock. However, I’m old enough to remember when we all cried with joy when John Krasinski’s $61 million A Quiet Place Part II (a PG-13 sequel that was slated to open in March 2020) opened with $19 million on the first Friday of May 2021. I Won’t Cry Now Jordan Peele’s R-rated original $69 million earning 19 .5 million on day one.
Friday’s $19.54 million came in part from a Thursday gross of $6.4 million, meaning 33% of day one came from previews versus 26% for We ($28.8 million on a preview gross of $7.4 million). Do I think the previews (starting at 4:00 p.m. these days) have a lot of impact in terms of percentage from Thursday to weekend? I guess it’s possible, as I note that this week marks the tenth anniversary of why we no longer have midnight sessions. We was considered a symbolic sequel to get outa critically acclaimed Oscar winner who had legs like hell ($175 million off a $33 million debut), doing so We a near-evasive sequel. No, which had less buzz and whose marketing was both cryptic and revealing, was never going to pull off a $70 million launch. But, alas, less than 50 million “looks like” a slight disappointment.
This current film by Peele, starring Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun, Brandon Perea and Michael Wincott, looks a bit like M. Night Shyamalan’s. Panels. Both films are about a farming family terrorized by UFOs. Both opened in late summer as the season’s final super-duper movie. The two represented the third major Hollywood film by an acclaimed filmmaker. However, Panels had Mel Gibson at the peak of his ass star power in the seats (What women Want had just won 180 million domestic dollars by the end of 2000) and additional aid from faith-based interests. This element arguably inflated the opening weekend by $60 million and kept the crowd pleaser top notch at $229 million domestically. Moreover, in terms of We being a “breakout metaphorical sequel” to get out and opening equally with Halloween ($77 million in 2018), it makes sense that Nope would open closer to halloween kills.
Except recovery on Saturday and Sunday (see Skull Island and Jumanji: the next level earn more or less than $60 million from Friday’s $20 million gross), Nope won’t become the biggest R-rated opener since Joker ($96 million) in October 2019. It will probably open closer to get out that Wealthough I expect longer legs than We ($175 million off a $71 million launch). Even with a Cinemascore B (tied with We), there is little competition after High-speed train, and Nope was mostly hidden until this week (most people knew what they were getting with We). Plus, this latest image from Peele is a more conventional, crowd-pleasing spectacle that demands a big screen. It’s still an R-rated live-action original with limited star power (talent ≠ butts in seats) that will open on par with Unexplored and Fantastic Beasts 3. Is it still a relative victory? Yeah.