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Jordan Peele’s ‘No’ tops box office charts

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Audiences responded with a resounding “yes” to Jordan Peele’s sci-fi thriller No, which became a box office record-breaker with a $44 million debut.

Those ticket sales fell slightly behind $50 million projections and fell between the results of Peel’s first two films, 2017’s Get Out (which opened to $33 million) and 2019’s Us (which opened to $71 million). “No” may not have set a new box office record for Peel, but it shows off the director’s popularity in film and marks a good start for an R-rated original horror film. In fact, it’s the highest opening weekend for an original film since since “Us” debuted over three years ago. Yes, that includes Quentin Tarantino’s stellar Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which opened at $41 million in July 2019.

“The opening isn’t as big as Us, but it’s still very impressive,” says David A. Gross, head of consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “The weekend figure is well above average for the genre.”

It’s worth noting that Peel’s sophomore “Us,” a scary tale of menacing doppelgangers, enjoyed particularly strong opening weekend success because it followed the runaway success of the Oscar-winning film Get Out. After his directorial debut captured the zeitgeist, scaring and leaving viewers thinking, the director’s fans have been eagerly awaiting Peel’s next dizzying nightmare. While Peel is still a big hit with audiences, the box office performance of No, another alarming social thriller, should have been comparatively a little more mundane.

No cost $68 million, significantly more than Get Out (with its modest $4.5 million budget) and Us (with its $20 million budget). So the film will need a bit more money than past Peel films to make a profit, and word of mouth will be key. Get Out and Us were huge hits in theaters, each grossing $255 million worldwide. No does not open internationally until mid-August.

No reunites Peel with Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya — and adds Keke Palmer and Steven Yeun to the mix — in the story of siblings who live in a gorge in California and try to spot UFO video evidence. Critics liked the song “No”, which scored 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences gave the film a “B”, the same CinemaScore as Us.

Universal’s president of domestic distribution, Jim Orr, notes that “No” appeals to all demographics; according to exit surveys, 35% of ticket buyers were Caucasian, 20% Hispanic, 33% African American, and 8% Asian. He says it’s a good sign in terms of theatrical circulation.

“We are thrilled with the results this weekend,” says Orr. “Jordan Peele is an incredible talent. His films are layered, thought-provoking and ridiculously entertaining.”

As “No” was the only new film to be released this weekend, the few remaining films closed the charts at the North American box office.

Disney’s Thor: Love and Thunder slipped to second place after two weeks at number one. The Marvel Adventure added $22.1 million (down 53%) from 4,370 spots, bringing the film’s domestic bill to $276.2 million. Worldwide, the fourth Thor movie grossed $598 million and will soon cross the $600 million mark. It has already earned at least one of its predecessors, 2011’s Thor ($449 million worldwide), and should soon surpass 2013’s Thor: The Dark World ($644 million worldwide). However, it still has some room to go to match (or surpass) the adorable 2017 film Thor: Ragnarok ($853 million).

Another Universal film, Minions: The Rise of Gru, came in third with $17.7 million from 3,816 theaters. After four weeks on the big screen, the animated family film earned $297.8 million in North America and $640.2 million worldwide.

Sony’s literary adaptation of Where the Crawfish Sing came in at number 4 with $10.33 million from 3,650 locations. With a better-than-expected debut over the weekend, the detective drama has grossed $38.3 million to date.

“Where the Crayfish Sing” beat “Top Gun: Maverick” by a hair’s breadth. Paramount’s blockbuster sequel grossed $10 million from 3,160 theaters in its ninth weekend of release, taking its domestic bill to a whopping $635 million. Maverick recently overtook The Avengers ($623.3 million) to become the ninth highest-grossing film in domestic box office history. With the Top Gun sequel making at least $10 million in a single weekend, industry pundits believe the film has enough momentum to soon pass #7 and #8, which belong to Titanic with $659 million and Jurassic. “. Mir” with $653 million.

At the indie box office, A24’s Marseille the Shell in the Shoes continues to grow at a snail’s pace. The film, about an inch-tall bouncy seashell (voiced by Jenny Slate), grossed $846,950 from 590 theaters, the highest number of theaters to date. Marseille have raised $2.8 million so far.


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