Universal/Monkeypaw’s “Nope” is hitting the low end of pre-release projections with $19.5 million grossed on Friday from 3,785 theaters, with the studio now estimating a $44.5 million opening.
Prior to the weekend, “Nope” was projected for a $45-50 million opening, with analysts predicting in the high $40 million range. That’s higher than the $33.3 million opening earned by Peele’s debut film “Get Out” in February 2017 but well below the $71 million earned by “Us” in April 2019.
“Nope” may have a chance to push its opening number closer to $50 million if walk-up ticket sales are higher than expected on Saturday and Sunday, but early audience reception has been more like a typical horror film than the acclaim that “Get Out” received. Rotten Tomatoes scores currently stand at 82% critics and 74% audience, while CinemaScore recorded a B, the same grade as “Us.”
With a $68 million budget, “Nope” is Peele’s most expensive film, as “Get Out” had a mere $4.5 million production spend while “Us” came in at $20 million. “Nope” should be another profitable film for Universal and Monkeypaw, which signed a first-look deal shortly after the release of “Get Out.” But if it makes as much as Peele’s past work, it will likely be because of the lack of competition in August.