Weekend Box Office: 'Get Out' Unseats 'Lego Batman' With Stellar $30.5M Debut
The other two films bowing over Oscar weekend, 'Rock Dog' and 'Collide,' opened outside the top 10; overseas, Sony's 'Resident Evil: The Final Chapter' astounds in China with a record $94.3 million launch.
Jordan Peele's unique, race-conscious horror film Get Out peeled off an impressive $30.5 million debut at the North American box office over the weekend, toppling holdover The Lego Batman Movie from the top spot.
The movie marks Peele's feature directorial debut and is the second win in a row for Universal and Blumhouse after M. Night Shyamalan's Split, which has grossed $221.2 million globally since its Jan. 20 release.
Get Out, playing in 2,781 theaters and costing under $5 million to make, exceeded expectations after garnering a rare 100 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an A- CinemaScore from audiences, unusual for a horror film (it isn't uncommon for a horror title to earn some variation of a C grade).
Peele (Key & Peele) wrote Get Out, which focuses on a young African-American man (Daniel Kaluuya) who is apprehensive about meeting the family of his white girlfriend (Allison Williams), since she hasn't told them he is black. When they arrive at her parents' home, he is further alarmed to learn that young black men have a habit of disappearing.
The pic played to a diverse audience, numbering 39 percent African-American and 36 percent Caucasian.
"We already knew how talented Jordan Peele is. Now, we're witnessing a new chapter in his creativity," said Universal domestic distribution president Nick Carpou. "This movie speaks to a lot of truths. It isn't really a horror film, it is very subversive and deals with issues of the day that are both frightening and funny."
Hollywood studios generally refrain from opening big event movies on Oscar weekend, and this year was no exception. The box-office landscape changes dramatically next weekend, when X-Men spinoff Logan debuts, followed by Kong: Skull Island on March 10 and Beauty and the Beast on March 17.
Heading into this weekend, box-office observers weren't sure if Get Out would be able to unseat Lego Batman.
Lego Batman was certainly no slouch in its third weekend, earning an estimated $19 million domestically from 4,157 theaters to pass the $200 million mark globally and finish Sunday with a total $226 million.
Overseas, the big story of the weekend was Sony's Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. The Screen Gems/Constantin film astounded with a $94.3 million debut in China, the top Friday-Sunday opening of all time for an imported title and the No. 2 bow of all time behind local title Lost in Hong Kong, according to Sony. The movie is being released in China via Constantin's local partner, Leomus Pictures.
Paramount's xXx: The Return of Xander Cage has likewise done huge business in China, grossing $152.6 million through Sunday for an international total of $285.3 million. It has earned another $44 million domestically.
While Get Out prospered in the U.S., neither of the other two films opening over Oscar weekend — the animated family film Rock Dog and the long-delayed action film Collide, starring Nicholas Hoult and Felicity Jones — could crack the top 10.
A China-U.S. co-production, Rock Dog grossed $3.7 million from 2,077 locations to place No. 12. The film was fully financed and produced by Mandoo Pictures and the Huayi Brothers. Lionsgate Premiere acquired domestic rights and is distributing the pic via a service deal. The story follows a music-loving Tibetan mastiff named Bodi who embarks on an adventure to fulfill his dreams of becoming a musician.
Open Road and IM Global's Collide — a leftover title from Relativity Media — is on course for a dismal debut of $1.5 million from 2,045 theaters. The long-delayed movie was originally set to open in October 2015.
Back in the top five, Lionsgate's male-fueled action film John Wick: Chapter 2 placed No. 3 with a pleasing $9 million for a domestic total of $74.4 million and worldwide haul of $125.5 million.
Universal and Legendary's troubled ancient epic The Great Wall fell 53 percent in its second weekend to $8.7 million domestically for a total $34.4 million. Globally, it has earned $300 million — including $171 million in China — but that's still not enough to put the movie in the black due to its $150 million production budget.
Universal's Fifty Shades Darker crossed the $100 million mark in North America and $300 million globally. Domestically, it rounded out the top five with $7.7 million for a total $103.6 million. Overseas, it took in another $19.8 million for a foreign cume of $328.3 million.