Jordan Peele's Nope Scares Up $6.4 Million In Thursday Previews

Jordan Peele's mysterious new horror movie is here, and "Nope" appears to be a "yep" for audiences. The movie has not even been in theaters for a full 24 hours yet, but its Thursday preview numbers are already boding well for the Universal project. According to Variety, the movie grossed $6.4 million in yesterday's early showings, putting its projected first weekend numbers on the higher side of initial estimations.

If "Nope" garners positive word-of-mouth and gets viewers to theaters the same way "Get Out" and "Us" did, the film is set to recoup its production budget in just a few days. According to Collider, "Nope" cost about $68 million, and predictions for its first weekend gross currently top out at about $60 million. Even if "Nope" ends up on the lower end of that spectrum, it'll still be the biggest horror release of the year so far, beating out the $24 million opening weekend for "The Black Phone" and the $30 million first weekend earnings for "Scream."

The movie is set to make back its budget quickly

"Nope" certainly deserves the attention. I was among the Thursday viewers, and I loved the expectation-subverting alien movie so much that I had to resist the urge to see it twice in a row. Shot in IMAX, with undeniably creepy sound design and awesome surprises that will surely end up spoiled before it hits digital, "Nope" is chock-full of elements that make for a great theatrical experience. Of course, with the rise of the latest variant of COVID-19, some viewers will understandably not feel safe making the trip to theaters right now.

Like both of Peele's previous directorial efforts, "Nope" has kept some of its plot points shrouded in secrets. Trailers and promotional materials for the movie (including a surprisingly fun interactive website) have revealed that it follows Emerald (Keke Palmer) and OJ Haywood (Daniel Kaluuya), horse ranchers who run a company that works with the animals on Hollywood movie sets. Their lives -– as well as that of neighbor and former child star Jupe (Steven Yeun) -– are changed forever when something mysterious and seemingly extraterrestrial starts happening in the night sky above their ranch.

The movie has already proven itself slightly more divisive among critics than past Peele productions, and currently stands at an 81% critical score on Rotten Tomatoes. /Film's own review, by Chris Evangelista, was decidedly positive on the film, calling it "a true summer movie spectacle meant to be writ large across the screen." The film's main theatrical competition this weekend will be "Thor: Love and Thunder," which has won the last two weekends at the box office despite a steep fall in its second week.