“Get Out” has been the biggest runaway success at the box office so far in 2017, giving hope to original stories in a world of superhero sequels and remakes. From a budget of just $4.5 million, the darkly funny horror film made an astonishing $175 million at the U.S. box office, showing there is a real market out there for fresh ideas from newer artists.
The first half of 2017 is over, and “Get Out” remains the #1 original film of the year that’s not a sequel, adaptation or remake. The film, written and directed by Jordan Peele, shattered expectations by grossing over $33 million in its opening weekend and making over $100 million in just three weeks. Such a feat is all the more impressive considering “Get Out” is Peele’s directorial debut, star Daniel Kaluuya’s first leading role in a feature film, and co-star Allison Williams’ feature film debut. It is also rated R, making it the second highest-grossing R-rated horror film in history behind “The Exorcist.”
The success of “Get Out” proves that the mainstream moviegoer cares about more than just the latest Marvel superhero installment or the newest Disney live-action remake. The film’s concept is very specific, centering on a black photographer (Kaluuya) who meets his white girlfriend’s (Williams) parents and ultimately grows suspicious of their behavior, yet it is a refreshing idea that allows Peele to explore some weighty concepts. From beginning to end, “Get Out” tackles race relations in America in a thought-provoking yet entertaining manner, providing a satisfying experience both viscerally and intellectually.
“Get Out” is also one of the most universally acclaimed films of the year. Scoring an incredible 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, many critics praised the film’s entertainment value and satirical take on society. To have an original film such as this excel not only at the box office but become a hit with critics as well is a very rare phenomenon.
Hollywood needs films like “Get Out” to succeed to prove the value in its continued existence. The industry may pump out more and more comic book adaptations and unoriginal remakes every year, but eventually the bubble is going to burst. People are going to grow weary of the onslaught, much like the erotic thrillers of the 1990s or the vampire craze of the late 2000s. Once moviegoers become uninterested in the seventh reboot of Spider-Man or the gritty live-action adaptation of “Green Eggs and Ham,” there’s going to be a real problem.
Right now, box office receipts show that people mostly want to see familiar properties, with only two of the top 20 highest-grossing films of the year having original concepts and characters — “Get Out” and “Split.” Even still, seeing these two films near the top of the box office chart is an encouraging sign for artists in the industry who wish to excel with their own original stories. Having “Get Out” gross almost $200 million from a shoestring budget has to be attractive for executives as well, and some may be persuaded to take a chance on diverse young talent.
“Get Out” is currently being positioned as an awards contender as well, particularly for Peele’s screenplay. Achieving major 2018 Oscar nominations for popular films usually works out well for everybody, with buzz leading to higher ticket and/or home video sales, and “Get Out” could have a second wind if it gets this kind of awards attention. If the industry continues to take risks on untested yet promising artists such as Peele, the sky is really the limit.