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“Us” Makes Horror History With Massive Debut

The box office is gearing up for a crowded lineup in April that could help the industry continue to rebound after a lackluster start to 2019. “Captain Marvel” helped bring momentum back to ticket sales in early March and a new offering from director Jordan Peele was expected to breathe even more life into the box office this past weekend as potential hits like “Dumbo”, “Shazam!”, “Hellboy”, and, of course, “Avengers: Endgame” await their turn to shine. But before they make their debut let’s look at how this past weekend went and where everything landed in this week’s Box Office Breakdown.

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As expected, Jordan Peele topped the box office yet again with his second horror feature “Us”. The follow-up to his Oscar-winning film “Get Out”, “Us” not only captured the box office crown it did so in epic, history-making fashion with the largest debut ever for an original horror film. “Us” scored $70.25 million in its opening weekend, nearly 50% of the sales of all movie in the top 12, giving it the third largest opening in history for a horror film behind only “It”, a remake based on a Stephen King novel, and the 2018 sequel “Halloween”. It’s also a huge jump from the $33.3 million “Get Out” made in its opening weekend. The total is also the highest grossing debut of an original live-action feature film from any genre since “Avatar” scored a $77 million debut in 2009. “Us” also received the highest grossing debut for an original R-rated film. These numbers shattered expectations after “Us” received near-universal critical praise including a positive review from me which you can read by clicking here. Capping off its weekend, “Us” took in a solid $16.7 million internationally with several key markets still awaiting the movie’s premiere in the coming weeks and months.

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After a few weeks at the top, Marvel Studio’s “Captain Marvel” fell to second place with a $35 million weekend bringing its domestic numbers to $321 million and putting it squarely within the top ten highest grossing features in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Captain Marvel” also snagged $52.1 million overseas. Rounding out the top five were holdovers “Wonder Park”, “Five Feet Apart” and “How to Train Your Dragon 3”. Looking at the latter half of the top ten “A Madea Family Funeral” landed in sixth while the second new entry in the top ten, “Gloria Bell”, took in $1.8 million to finish seventh. The Julianne Moor-led film from A24 expanded over the weekend after a limited release at the beginning of March. “No Manches Frida 2”, “The LEGO Movie 2” and “Alita: Battle Angel rounded out the top ten while last week’s newcomer “Captive State” falls out of the top ten in only its second weekend. Best Picture winner “Green Book” also falls out the top ten for the first time since winning at the Academy Awards.

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This upcoming weekend should be a lot of fun to watch because “Us” will see competition from only one source, Disney’s live-action remake of “Dumbo”. If comparing “Us” to “Get Out” tells us anything the horror film could see a minuscule drop of 15 to 20 percent which would put a lot of pressure on “Dumbo” to perform if it wants to top the chart. “Dumbo” is tracking well though and its success may be dependent on whether “Us” stirs up enough buzz to bring anyone who hasn’t seen it to the theater for the experience as well as how well received “Dumbo” is among critics. Should be interesting to see the outcome this time next week.

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