Nope has raked in the highest domestic opening weekend for an original film since 2019’s Us, which was also directed by Jordan Peele. Peele was previously best known for being a comic actor, especially in partnership with Keegan-Michael Key on their sketch comedy series Key & Peele. However, that reputation changed on a dime when Peele came out with his directorial debut Get Out in 2017, a horror film that struck a nerve with its combination of intense terror, satirical comedy, and social commentary. He followed up that project with Us, which followed a vacationing family who encounters evil doppelgangers of themselves and reunited Black Panther stars Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke.
Although Peele has written and produced projects in the meantime, including the reboot of The Twilight Zone and 2021’s Candyman, he hasn’t produced another directorial feature until Nope, which hit theaters July 22. The film follows siblings OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and Em Haywood (Keke Palmer) as they inherit their father’s ranch following his mysterious death. While they are at odds as to how to handle this windfall, they are interrupted by further mysterious occurrences that seem to indicate that they may just be in the midst of an alien invasion. The cast of the film also includes Michael Wincott, Keith David, Donna Mills, Barbie Ferreira, Oz Perkins, and Oscar nominee Steven Yeun.
Per Variety, Nope has pulled in a total of $44 million at the domestic box office in its opening weekend, making it #1. This result was slightly lower than the expected gross of around $50, unfortunately. However, that still makes the film the highest opening for a non-IP original film since Us, which had an opening of $71 million.
Not only does Nope have the highest opening for an original film in quite some time, but it is also one of only three original films to hit #1 at the box office for their opening weekend in 2022. The other two are the Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum adventure rom-com The Lost City, which opened to $30.5 million, and the Baz Luhrmann-helmed music biopic Elvis, which made $31.2 million. Even categorizing Elvis as original is debatable, considering it is based on the life of one of the most famous rockers of all time.
It seems that part of the reason Peele is able to get away with making successful original films is that he himself has become something of a brand rather than the source material of the movies. Hopefully, the success of Nope, as well as all of his previous films, will encourage producers to put their faith in other original projects. That may allow other visionaries like Peele to strike gold and put more fresh ideas into the Hollywood sphere.