Sometimes it just comes down to timing. Take for example, this weekend’s No.1 film – Universal/Blumhouse’s comedy/horror “Get/Out”. One of very few black horror films (written and directed by Jordan Peele, the shorter half of the former comedy duo “Key & Peele”), “Get Out” tackles racism in a satirical way while also staying true to horror film genre conventions. Although it’s not the first film to do so.
Audiences seem to overlook Rusty Cundieff’s “Tales from the Hood” which also combined straight horror and wild satirical takes on racism, back in 1995 (and is finally coming out in on blu-ray in April, via Shout Factory).
But what if “Get Out” was released two years ago? Would audiences have been talking about it then, with the same enthusiasm they are discussing it today? Don’t forget that, just over a year ago, Peele’s initial foray into movies with former partner Keegan-Michael Key, titled “Keanu” (which set out to subvert black stereotypes and black films), was a bust at the box office. So what happened this time around?
Simple, it’s the right film at the right time. With the current USA administration laying waste to the honor of the White House and the country, with all the talk and fear of the so-called “alt-right”, as well as the rise in racial ate crimes, “Get Out” couldn’t be more timely. It’s as if the film went into production the day after Trump was elected in November. And no doubt when the film was in production, Peele and the rest of the cast and crew had no idea that it would be the most talked about film of the moment, one that captures the zeitgeist. They were likely hoping that it wouldn’t get lost among the other films being released at the same time.
And with $30.5 million its opening weekend, which is more than 6 times the film’s very small $4.5 million budget, the film is yet another box office smash for Blumhouse Productions. In fact, it’s the eighth film made by the independent production company that has opened at No.1, with a total of more than 6 times its budget. What’s their secret?
Since 2009, Blumhouse has raked in huge bundles of money by spending very little exclusively on horror and genre films such as “Split” (still going strong, with over $200 million worldwide on a $9 million budget), “The Visit”, “The Purge” movies (which have grossed over $321 million worldwide), the “Paranormal Activity” franchise, and other scary films including “Ouija” and “Sinister” and their sequels. The company’s films altogether have grossed over $2.6 billion worldwide so far, with “Get Out” now adding to that growing total. Although the company has had its share of flops, Blumhouse can count far more box office hits than losers, proving that if you find a formula that works, and stick to it, you almost can’t lose.
But looking ahead, “Get Out” faces some stiff competition next weekend, with the third and supposedly last Wolverine film “Logan”, which is already drawing rave reviews; and the following weekend comes “Kong: Skull Island”. But “Get Out’s” strong word-of-mouth should keep ticket sales brisk for several weeks, with predictions of an $80-90 million domestic gross possible.
As for the rest of this weekend’s box office list, it’s pretty much the same as it was last weekend, with “The LEGO Batman Movie” coming in second earning $19 million, and “John Wick Chapter 2” coming in third place with $9 million, over $74 million domestic to date, and $125 million worldwide.
Meanwhile “Hidden Figures” has surpassed $150 million so far, and looks to be headed for at least $175-180 million domestically, and a worldwide gross of somewhere in the region of $225 to $230 million. As for the foreign box office figures for “Moonlight”, the film grossed another $400,000 in France over the last week, and we’re still waiting for weekend reports from the other countries where it’s opened. But a rough estimate is that the film has now grossed about $8 million overseas so far.
This weekend’s top 10 grosses follow below:
1). Get Out (UNI), $30.5M
2). The LEGO Batman Movie (WB), $19M Total: $133M
3. John Wick: Chapter 2 (LGF), $9M Total:$74.4M
4. The Great Wall (UNI/LEG), : $8.7M Total: $34.4M
5. Fifty Shades Darker (UNI),: $7.7M Total: $103.6M
6.) Fist Fight (WB/NL), $6.38M Total: $23.2M
7) Hidden Figures (FOX), $5.87M Total: $152.8M
8). La La Land (LGF), 1$4.6M Total: $140.86M
9.) Split (UNI/BLUM),: $4.1M Total: $130.8M
10.) Lion (TWC) $3.8M Total: $42.8M