With an additional $1.2 million on Tuesday, Jordan Peele Nope surpassed $100 million at the domestic box office. This makes Universal and Monkeypaw the first R-rated film to reach this milestone since bad boys for life ($204 million) in January 2020. The previous highest R-rated revenue since then was Universal and Blumhouse halloween kills, which made $92 million after a $49 million launch last October. Of course the Halloween 3 version 2.0 the movie only cost around $20 million while Nope costs $69 million, but money is money, and at worst Nope will end up being an idealistic theatrical leader.
It won’t open overseas until this weekend, including more than a dozen markets giving it the IMAX treatment, so all the fuss over its “mere” $44 million opening and “mere” probably over/under $120 million domestic finish may be premature. However, the film cost about as much as It Chapter Two after This grossed $700 million worldwide on a $35 million budget. A 68/32 national/foreign distribution on par with get out ($176 million domestic and $257 million worldwide on a budget of $5 million) and We ($175m/$255m/$20m). A projected domestic sum of $120 million and approximately $55 million overseas would amount to $175 million worldwide.
That would hit that 2.5x benchmark for eventual profitability. If he doesn’t quite hit those targets, he could well lose a few dollars in gross movie revenue. However, I am 107% sure that PVOD will make up the difference and maybe even more. We’ve seen the secondary revenue stream succeed not in cannibalizing theatrical releases from Universal and Focus, but in boosting already successful films while giving tough studio programmers like Ambulance a chance to become profitable. As we have seen since A Quiet Place Part II dropped on PVOD and Paramount+ by day 47, successful theatrical releases don’t drop dead after entering post-theatrical markets.
But even if the PVOD and DVD don’t save the day for this R-rated original, I’m not too worried that Peele will have to ask Gru for a bailout or be doomed to have to direct Fast and Furious 11. The Warner Bros. melodrama. Discovery last week saw David Zaslav’s funeral bat girl and Scoob: Holiday Haunt for a tax deduction because he continued to imply (if not outright state) that he doesn’t care to indulge a prestigious talent. Universal can spin the simple idea of dropping a few theatrical bucks on a movie like Nope as a badge of honor to advance their filmmaker-friendly narrative.
Donna Langley’s courtship with Chris Nolan, Michael Bay and The Daniels offers a narrative of Universal being a safe place for big-name filmmakers who may not want to make a franchise movie. The PVOD revenue stream appears to be successful in avoiding theatrical cannibalization. movies like The Black Phone, Jurassic World Dominion and Minions: The Rise of Gru don’t drop dead in theaters once they hit the post-theater market. While that may change over time, so far PVOD has been less of a hurdle for theaters and more of a sideline revenue stream that justifies releasing films of all shapes and sizes (Ambulance, Easter Sunday, etc.) for theatrical consumption.
As for Nope, good isn’t the enemy of perfect, and that the UFO movie isn’t as popular as Peele’s previous two movies, it’s just a matter of maybe only getting $50 million to play with the next movie. It’s still the first national biggest R-rated over $100m of the Covid era. As noted on opening weekend, Peele is the only living filmmaker, aside from Chris Nolan and China’s Wu Jing, for whom a high-profile, R-rated live-action original would require a defense or ” Why didn’t he do more?’ Explanation Heavy is the head that wears the crown.