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‘Nope’ Disappoints at Box Office, Media Rush to the Rescue

Director Jordan Peele's third film shows limits to his cultural reach

A tiny number of modern directors can draw a crowd based on their name alone.

Think Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, James Cameron and, up until recently, Steven Spielberg.

Jordan Peele is the newest member of this exclusive club.

Get Out Official Trailer 1 (2017) - Daniel Kaluuya Movie

His 2017 debut as writer/director, “Get Out,” snagged him an Oscar along with instant Hollywood cred. Audiences connected to his supreme vision, a blend of smart social commentary and killer horror tropes.

So when his “Get Out” follow-up, “Us,” hit theaters audiences flocked to see it. The film, not as celebrated as Peele’s first film but still a sturdy genre treat, generated $71 million in its opening weekend.

Huge numbers, and the credit goes straight to Peele. Audiences wanted more of what he delivered with “Get Out,” and the film’s $175 million haul stateside suggests they were more than pleased.

Now, Peele’s newest vision is experiencing some turbulence at the box office.

NOPE | Official Trailer

Nope,” a UFO-themed thriller starring Oscar winner Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer, is looking at a $44-45 million opening weekend. You don’t have to be a math major to see a $25 million drop from what “Us” delivered three years ago.

It gets worse for “Nope,” a high-profile release with a $68 million budget.

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“Us” opened in March, a solid but unspectacular time for popcorn movies. “Nope” dropped July 22, smack in the middle of the bustling summer season with zero competition.

Plus, the only other horror film of consequence, “The Black Phone,” has been out a month and can be viewed at home.

Peele’s name still matters, and $44 million for an original horror film represents a very strong opening. It’s still a far cry from “Us,” though, and it suggests Peele’s brand has diminished in three short years.

Several Hollywood news sites are doing damage control for Peele and “Nope.”

The far-Left Variety frames the box office numbers in a way that distracts readers from reality. It’s Peele’s third straight film to open at number one, they say (true, but consider the bigger picture).

Here’s more:

Early projections saw the sci-fi horror film making $45 million to $60 million by the end of its opening weekend. The film is coming in a hair under those estimates [emphasis added].

Those “Nope” predictions were based on Peele’s recent, and impressive, track record.

Some truth emerges deeper into the story.

How the film’s word-of-mouth stands will be better inferred after its second weekend performance, though it isn’t all sunshine and lollipops. Research firm CinemaScore assigned a “B” grade to “Nope,” indicating a not entirely enthusiastic reaction from general moviegoers.

The far-Left Deadline also attempts some damage control.

I think many (involved with the pic and in the industry) were hoping for at least $50M. But this type of start isn’t to be complained about, specifically when it comes to an original movie … Hopefully, this R-rated horror sci-fi movie isn’t more frontloaded than many are already projecting.

Hopefully? Is Deadline taking a side here? Does the site offer similar cheerleading for all titles, or just select movies?

Why?

The equally far-Left Hollywood Reporter offers a more straightforward take on the film’s box office debut along with a critical caveat. Peele, a critics’ darling, is generating some less than glowing reviews for his latest effort.

In terms of reception, Nope has a lower critics’ score than Us and Get Out, which sits at a stellar 98 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Nope currently rests at 82 percent, while Us boasts a score of 93 percent.

Few will openly admit “Nope” is an artistic stumble for Peele. Here’s betting word-of-mouth will do the title few favors.

Peele, a funny comic actor who revealed his inner auteur with “Get Out,” deserves more chances to show “Nope” was an aberration, not a vision of future films

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14 Comments

  1. I just saw Nope and give it a solid “A.” It’s a touching family drama, a thrilling horror flick, and a genuinely funny satire that skewers everything from Hollywood exploration of blue collar workers to audience addiction to spectacle.

    But these reasons are why it’s getting flack from audiences and critics. Peele doesn’t want to recycle the same Get Out formula. Thank God.

    Peele reminds me of one of his idols, John Carpenter, who sometimes got backlash for not playing it safe. See The Thing, which got worse backlash than Nope in the 80s, but is now hailed as sci-fi horror masterpiece.

    So, I hope Peele continues to be more like Carpenter and less like the hacks who phone it in.

    1. Wow did we see the same movie? It is a worthy followup to hi s earlier efforts. I haven’t seen such tripe since the new Ghostbusters.

  2. The hypocrisy in this entire wrote up is laughable. The naive nature of the writer to not see the hypocrisy within it is embarrassing. You can’t headline “disappoints at box-office” as click bait, to only speak about its $44+ opening being a good opening for an original syfy horror comedy mash up. Like, the biased views and opinions only stemming from a petty retaliation of the “far-left media” supporting this film, is honestly laughable.

    1. I just saw this movie and unfortunately found it baffling. I still don’t know what I was supposed to feel. It felt like most things in the movie didn’t push it forward. Those Georgie scenes were awesome but I don’t understand the relevance they have with the movie. Most people in the showing seemed to be feeling similar. I’ll have to give it another try, but I found it to be a tough watch.

  3. It’s to me that anything that’s black is considered left leaning and that every black person is in a cult. Republicans will never get the black vote by trashing black people then turning around saying they support them in the same breath

    1. Clarence Thomas “Left leaning”? Winsome Sears? Maybe Dr. Ben Carson? It’s sad you’re so misinformed.

  4. From the trailer (what else are we supposed to go on?) its just another scattered horror flick. So what. Dime a dozen on Netflix, Prime, Hulu, where-ever.
    Not worth the money to watch in a theater.
    Give it a couple months, it will be rentable for $3.99, or free.

    As to the one person who decided its political and racist to NOT like the movie. Sure man, whatever. We get it, you’re a victim. Get in line.

  5. This is the best horror movie this year so far, and should be seen in the theater. If you want to worry about the “cultural reach” of Jordan Peele instead of just enjoying this, the it’s your loss.

  6. calling all 3 major trades “left winf” is goofy as s***, you embarrasses yourself
    $44M is objectively a strong opening here. If it has good legs remains to be seen.

  7. Apparently all the outlets are “far-Left.” Or maybe the writer and This outlet are just Rightie-bread spawn with little else to do wirh your time but disparage all things Not from the Right here in the Internet cellar.

    Criticize the film and filmmaker as much as you want, but penning a piece (this ain’t No article) that spends all of its time repeatedly referring to other media outlets as “far-Left” drips with intellectual vapidity.

    1. Not surprised about your comments. You sound like a true MAGA fanatic. The only thing I agree was that the movie was horrible and that has nothing to do with whatever message you think the movie was trying to portray.

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