‘Get out’ scares up big au­di­ence

Jor­dan Peele’s hor­ror film de­fies es­ti­mates with $33.4 mil­lion, best­ing ‘Lego Bat­man.’

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS - By Ryan Faugh­n­der ryan.faugh­n­der @la­times.com

The hor­ror movie de­fies es­ti­mates with $33.4 mil­lion over the week­end, best­ing “Lego Bat­man.”

Boosted by strong re­views and a genre-bend­ing story, Jor­dan Peele’s so­cially con­scious hor­ror movie, “Get Out,” got a big, neigh­borly wel­come at the box of­fice this week­end.

The movie from the co­me­dian-turned-di­rec­tor oblit­er­ated in­dus­try ex­pec­ta­tions with a stu­dio-es­ti­mated $33.4 mil­lion in ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada from Fri­day through Sun­day, eas­ily un­seat­ing “The Lego Bat­man Movie” as the No. 1 do­mes­tic film.

Most an­a­lysts had pre­dicted the movie would open to $20 mil­lion to $24 mil­lion. But with rave re­views, an­tic­i­pa­tion was high for the di­rec­to­rial de­but of Peele, pre­vi­ously best known for his role in the Com­edy Cen­tral sketch-com­edy duo be­hind “Key & Peele.”

“Get Out,” about a young black man (Daniel Kalu­uya of “Si­cario”) whose trip to meet his white girl­friend’s par­ents turns deeply sin­is­ter, has re­ceived unan­i­mous praise from film crit­ics, achiev­ing a 100% pos­i­tive rat­ing on Rot­ten Toma­toes.

While it’s a stel­lar de­but for Peele as a writer and di­rec­tor of a fea­ture film, the movie also marks the lat­est suc­cess from Uni­ver­sal Pic­tures and Ja­son Blum’s Blum­house Pro­duc­tions, which had a win­ner ear­lier this year with M. Night Shya­malan’s “Split” ($131 mil­lion in do­mes­tic re­ceipts so far). “Get Out,” which also is the big-screen de­but of “Girls” star Al­li­son Wil­liams, cost only $5 mil­lion to make. The movie be­gins its in­ter­na­tional roll­out next month.

“Get Out,” praised for its use of the hor­ror genre to tackle race re­la­tions, had a healthy de­mo­graphic split among its de­but au­di­ence, which was 39% black, 36% white and 17% Latino. Sales were split evenly be­tween men and wo­man.

The film’s in­no­va­tive use of the well-worn scary movie for­mat for so­cial com­men­tary fol­lows other top­i­cal hor­ror films such as 2016’s “The Purge: Elec­tion Year.”

Au­di­ences re­sponded pos­i­tively, ac­cord­ing to exit polling firm Cine­maS­core, giv­ing it an A-mi­nus. That’s a rare feat for a hor­ror movie, and it bodes well for the film’s fu­ture prospects — and per­haps for Peele’s fu­ture as a writer-di­rec­tor.

“This may be Jor­dan Peele’s first di­rec­to­rial ef­fort, but there’s a tremen­dous amount of craft in this movie,” said Nick Car­pou, pres­i­dent of do­mes­tic dis­tri­bu­tion for Uni­ver­sal Pic­tures. ”

Warner Bros.’ “The Lego Bat­man Movie” set­tled for No. 2 af­ter back-to-back weeks at the top of the charts, adding $19.2 mil­lion for a to­tal of $133 mil­lion do­mes­ti­cally for the $80-mil­lion an­i­mated com­edy. Adding in $93 mil­lion from other coun­tries, the ir­rev­er­ent take on the caped cru­sader has grossed $226 mil­lion world­wide.

Third place went to Lion­s­gate’s “John Wick: Chap­ter 2,” star­ring Keanu Reeves as a highly ef­fi­cient killer. The ac­tion thriller col­lected $9.4 mil­lion this week­end for a to­tal of $74.8 mil­lion in the U.S. and Canada af­ter three weeks in the­aters.

With the ex­cep­tion of “Get Out,” new­com­ers suf­fered badly this week­end. “Col­lide,” an ac­tion thriller that was or­phaned by the Rel­a­tiv­ity Me­dia bank­ruptcy in 2015 and ended up with Open Road Films, col­lapsed at the mul­ti­plex with just $1.5 mil­lion. Lion­s­gate’s mu­si­cal an­i­mal car­toon “Rock Dog” crashed with $3.7 mil­lion. Both fin­ished out­side the top 10.

Many movie­go­ers de­cided to catch up with the Os­car nom­i­nees still in the­aters rather than seek out the new re­leases.

20th Cen­tury Fox’s re­al­life NASA tale “Hid­den Fig­ures” held on as the high­est­gross­ing best pic­ture nom­i­nee do­mes­ti­cally. It fin­ished in sev­enth place with $5.8 mil­lion for the week­end and a $153-mil­lion to­tal do­mes­ti­cally. “La La Land,” Lion­s­gate’s mu­si­cal that won six Academy Awards, was right be­hind with $4.7 mil­lion and a to­tal of $141 mil­lion. We­in­stein Co.’s “Lion” earned the tenth spot in the rank­ings with $3.8 mil­lion, rais­ing its haul to $42.8 mil­lion.

Sun­day night’s sur­prise best pic­ture win­ner, “Moon­light,” from A24, is the low­est gross­ing of the nom­i­nees, with $22.3 mil­lion in the U.S. and Canada. The $1.5-mil­lion com­ing-of-age story about a gay black boy in Mi­ami earned an es­ti­mated $765,900 dur­ing Os­car week­end from 585 do­mes­tic the­aters. The film, which won three Academy Awards, will seek a boost at the box of­fice by ex­pand­ing to about 1,200 the­aters this week.

Justin Lu­bin Uni­ver­sal Pic­tures

“GET OUT,” about a young black man (Daniel Kalu­uya, right) whose trip to meet the par­ents of his white girl­friend (Al­li­son Wil­liams, left) turns deeply sin­is­ter, has re­ceived unan­i­mous praise from film crit­ics.

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