Box office: Jordan Peele’s 3rd feature ‘Nope’ opens with just $44 million

There was only one new movie in wide release this weekend. It was expected that Jordan Peele’s “Nope” would do quite well, being the Oscar-winning filmmaker’s follow-up to 2019’s “Us” and 2017’s “Get Out,” both which grossed $175 million domestically. Starring Daniel Kaluuya (“Get Out”), Keke Palmer (“Lightyear”), Steven Yeun (“Minari”) and breakout star Brandon Perea, the sci-fi thriller made $6.4 million in Thursday previews starting at 4pm, which added to Friday’s gross for a first day of $19.7 million in 3,785 theaters.

According to Sunday estimates, “Nope” made just $44 million in its first weekend, which may be substantially less than “Us,” which opened with $71 million, but really, it’s not bad for a fully original feature film not based on prior material. Critics generally liked the movie, giving it 83% on Rotten Tomatoes with audiences ranking it lower with only 71% giving the movie a thumbs up. Even worse for Peele’s latest was that it received a “B” CinemaScore, the same as Peele’s second feature film, “Us,” which followed its $71 million debut with a couple nasty drop-offs. We’ll have to see if “Nope” can hold up better over the remainder of the summer.

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Marvel’s latest, “Thor: Love and Thunder,” dropped to second place with another fairly steep 53% drop from last weekend to take in $22.1 million. It has grossed $276.2 million in North America and is probably a week or slightly more away from $300 million. It has already passed that mark internationally as it added another $31.8 million this weekend for a worldwide total very close to $600 million.

In third place, Universal’s animated “Minions: The Rise of Gru” edged slightly closer to $300 million, as it added another 17.7 million for third place, down 34% from last weekend, for a four-week total of $297.9 million. Both those movies are vying for fifth place for the year behind “Jurassic World: Dominion,” which is currently at $920.6 million worldwide.

The Sony adapted drama “Where the Crawdads Sing” had a great second weekend, dropping to fourth place but off by only 40% from its opening weekend where it over-performed expectations. This weekend, it took in another $10.3 million for a running sum of $38.3 million. It seems like this literary drama is working well as counter-programming, so far.

“Top Gun: Maverick” has now passed 2012’s “Marvel’s The Avengers” to become the ninth highest-grossing movie of all time. It added another $10 million over the weekend (down just 19%) to bring its domestic total to $635.6 million. This may very well be its last weekend in the top five, but considering that it’s now in its 9th weekend and is still playing in over 3,000 theaters nationwide means it probably isn’t going anywhere.

SEE Grab the popcorn and sound off in our movie forums

Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” also continues to do quite well with another $6.3 million this weekend (down 21.3%) to take sixth place with $118.4 million grossed to date. It’s Lurhmann’s second movie to cross that milestone domestically.

Paramount’s animated “Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank” dropped to 7th place with $3.9 million, a drop of roughly 39% from its opening weekend. It has grossed $13.8 million, so far, but it will have to take on a much stronger animated family film next weekend.

Universal’s horror film “The Black Phone,” starring Ethan Hawke, continues to do big business in theaters despite being available on demand. This weekend, it took eighth place with $3.4 million, down 36% from last week. Its $78.5 million is pretty impressive considering its relatively low production cost of just $18 million. It can also count an equally impressive $51.5 million overseas, which puts it at $130.1 million worldwide.

Those sneaky sneaks at A24 went ahead and expanded “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” into 590 theaters on Friday where it brought in $847,000 or about $1,400 per theater, which unfortunately, wasn’t enough for it to break back into the Top 10. It remained in 11th place for a second weekend in a row with $2.9 million grossed so far.

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“Nope” underperforming really threw off many players in Gold Derby’s box office prediction game, since only 30 players picked the $25 to $50 million range to the 130 that had it opening over $50 million (including yours truly). An equal number of players picked “Top Gun: Maverick” to remain in fourth place with 38 players correctly picking “Crawdads” instead. “Maverick” did take fifth place, but only 39 players got that right. Because of this, there is only the possibility of 30 players going six-for-six with a perfect score for this weekend.

In last week’s July 15 box office game, only three players scored a perfect six out of six, with “Fleming18” ahead of the pack with 30,658 points. (Remember to click on that Super Bet which can increase your prediction by five times. It can make all the difference.)

On Friday, Warner Bros. releases the animated “DC League of Super Pets” while Focus Features releases “Vengeance,” the directorial debut from B.J. Novak from “The Office.” Check back on Wednesday for my thoughts on the weekend box office.

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