us box office opening weekend

It’s official: audiences love Us. Jordan Peele‘s strange, terrifying and hilarious horror movie is a smash-hit, resulting in the best opening weekend for a live-action original film since James Cameron’s Avatar. While box office is never an indication of a film’s quality, this is great news for Peele, for the horror genre, and for original movies as a whole. When original films break records like this, it occasionally sends a message to producers that audiences are interested in fresh stories – not just adaptations or remakes of established IP. In the end, the strong Us box office ultimately resulted in a $70.2 million opening weekend.

Studios sometimes cringe at the thought of horror films. They have no reason to do so – people love the genre, and time after time, it plays well at the box office. Yet there remains a stigma around horror – so much so that when a horror movie generates buzz, producers are quick to classify it as something else. “It’s a thriller!” they’ll say. Or, even worse, they’ll declare it to be “elevated horror.” But maybe Us will change all that. Before the film opened wide, Peele made sure to let everyone know that his Get Out follow-up was indeed rooted firmly in the horror genre.

Now, Us has scored the biggest opening weekend for a live-action original movie since Avatar in 2009. Producers, take note: it’s okay to admit your horror movie is actually a horror movie. As Deadline confirms, the Us $70.2 million opening weekend is a record-breaker. “Simply put, Jordan Peele is a genius, and we’re thrilled he put his signature touch to the genre,” said Universal domestic distribution’s Jim Orr. “Folks come out of the movie and they have to talk about. It’s really a topic of conversation, how people are interpreting the movie. That’s a great sign for legs.”

Forbes goes even further, rattling off a whole list of records the film broke: “Seventh-biggest opening weekend ever for any scary movie”; “Third-biggest opening weekend ever for an R-rated scary movie”; “Second-biggest opening weekend ever for a live-action original”; “Biggest opening weekend ever for an original horror movie”; “Biggest opening weekend ever for a movie starring a woman of color”; “Biggest opening weekend ever for an R-rated original movie”; and “Biggest single day gross ever for a live-action original movie.”

Elsewhere in box office land, Captain Marvel continued to go higher, faster, further, becoming the 10th-biggest comic-book release of all time (per Variety) as it passed $900 million worldwide. In other superhero news, the paid-preview showings of Shazam! went over well, raking in $3.3 million over the weekend. The movie officially opens April 5.

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