“Nope,” the latest original horror film from “Get Out” mastermind Jordan Peele, made $6.4 million at the box office in its Thursday preview showings from 3,250 theaters. It opens on 3,785 screens Friday.
“Nope” is Peele’s third film, and excitement from both horror buffs and critics has been high. Universal is hopeful that the same level of word of mouth attention will spring up around “Nope” in the way it did with Peele’s prior films, “Get Out” and “Us.” “Nope” though, has Peele operating on his largest budget yet with a reported $68 million, and independent projections say that the movie could open between $47-50 million this weekend.
That would be higher than Peele’s 2017 debut “Get Out,” which only opened to $33 million after first making $1.8 million in its Thursday preview showings. But it would eventually leg out for months to become a box office smash. The closer comparison is “Us” in 2019, which started far stronger than “Get Out,” and made a whopping $7.4 million in its previews before opening to $70 million. But audience buzz didn’t match the hype of “Get Out,” and both films finished their box office runs with similar totals of $255 million worldwide.
Unlike “Us” and “Get Out,” “Nope” doesn’t have the benefit of first premiering at a film festival to generate excitement, but it still has solid critic reaction with an 82% score on Rotten Tomatoes. The film has been pushed heavily for months, starting with a Super Bowl spot back in February. Trailers and posters have been secretive about the film’s plot details, and that approach has only built the mystique around the movie for many horror and Peele fans.
“Nope” stars Keke Palmer and Daniel Kaluuya as horse ranchers outside of Southern California who happen to be descendants of the first movie stunt man and are the only Black-owned animal wranglers for the film and TV business. But after a mysterious accident kills their father and leaves them to carry the torch of the business, they soon begin to notice unsettling and unexplained phenomena over their vast ranch that leads them down a rabbit hole of capturing on camera whatever is haunting them.
The Universal release also stars Brandon Perea, Michael Wincott, Keith David and Steven Yeun. Peele wrote, directed and produced “Nope,” and Ian Cooper is also a producer for Monkeypaw Productions.