Great reviews and buzz propelled comedian Jordan Peele's directorial debut, the micro-budget thriller "Get Out," to a chart-topping opening weekend with $30.5 million according to studio estimates Sunday.
The Blumhouse-produced and Universal Pictures-distributed film cost an estimated $4.5 million to make. While it was expected to perform well against its budget, few people foresaw a debut this big — especially with a relatively unknown star in Daniel Kaluuya leading the film.
Part of the reason is positive reviews. "Get Out" has a 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is extremely rare for a thriller and only added to the excitement going into the weekend, said Universal President of Domestic Theatrical Distribution Nick Carpou.
"Jordan Peele is an absolute talent," he said. "As we got closer and closer to opening, it's amazing how many people were rooting for it."
Peele, who most audiences know for his sketch comedy work on the series "Key & Peele," wrote and directed the film about a black man who travels upstate to meet his white girlfriend's family.
Even without Peele in the film, audiences turned out in droves to experience the high concept horror pic. According to exit polls, African Americans comprised an estimated 39 percent of the opening weekend audiences, while Caucasians made up 36 percent, and a whopping 49 percent were under the age of 25.
ComScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian predicts the film will also have staying power in the marketplace. "Social media is going to keep this movie front and center," Dergarabedian said.
"Get Out" effectively pushed "The Lego Batman Movie" into second place. The animated family picture added $19 million this weekend and is now up to $133 million after only three weeks in theaters.
"John Wick: Chapter Two" took third place with $9 million, while the Matt Damon-starrer "The Great Wall" took fourth with $8.7 million — down 53 percent from its opening last week.
"Fifty Shades Darker" rounded out the top five with $7.7 million, pushing the erotic drama over the $100 million mark in its third weekend.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.