Jordan Peele’s latest nightmare, “Nope,” has crossed $100 million at the domestic box office, marking the director’s third feature film (out of three) to achieve that benchmark.
After three weeks on the big screen, the film’s North American tally stands at $100.32 million.
“Nope” — starring Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer as siblings who discover something spooky hovering around their family’s ranch — is one of the few original movies to cross the $100 million mark in pandemic times. When it comes to movies that aren’t based on existing brands or franchises, only director Baz Luhrmann’s musical biopic “Elvis” ($137 million) and the Sandra Bullock-led romantic comedy “The Lost City” ($105 million) have surpassed the coveted threshold in 2022. And just one other original movie — 2021’s “Free Guy” with Ryan Reynolds ($121 million) — has hit $100 million since the pandemic.
Universal Pictures shelled out $68 million to produce “Nope,” which is significantly more than the studio spent on “Get Out” (with its especially slender $4.5 million budget) and “Us” (with its tight $20 million budget). That means Peele’s third feature is not quite profitable yet and will require a little more coinage than his past films to get out of the red.
Though “Nope” cemented an important box office milestone, it still has ways to go to match Peele’s zeitgeist-tapping debut, “Get Out,” ($176.1 million) and his sophomore effort, “Us,” ($175 million) in North American ticket sales. “Nope” has yet to open at the international box office, where “Get Out” and “Us” each collected about $80 million for a $255 million worldwide tally.
Critics have praised “Nope,” which holds an 82% on Rotten Tomatoes, while audiences gave the film a so-so “B” CinemaScore — the same grade as “Us.” Peele tends to leave audiences feeling unsettled, which may explain the passable exit polls. By comparison, the Oscar-winning “Get Out” landed an “A-” score.
The R-rated “Nope” debuted in July to the tune of $41 million, securing the biggest opening weekend tally for an original film in the pandemic era. Those ticket sales failed to match “Us,” which kicked off with a stellar $71 million in 2019. However, the impressive start for “Nope” indicates the filmmaker’s popularity at the movies, as well as his ability to deliver on scares that carry a deeper meaning. Seriously, will Peele ever make a movie that doesn’t inspire a thousand think pieces?