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What Jordan Peele Hopes Hollywood Learns From the Box Office Success of Get Out

Get Out is now the highest-grossing film in Blumhouse history, and it’s still growing. The domestic total now sits at $150m, but the film only just now fell out of the top 5 (in its 5th week of release). A final total north of $160m is guaranteed. Plus, Get Out has added nearly $7m from the UK over the past two weeks. An expansion into further international markets remains on the horizon.

Pretty good for a from a first-time director, Jordan Peele, who was only working with a micro budget of $4.5m budget.  It’s the most impressive box office debut for a new director since Elizabeth Banks’ record-breaking Pitch Perfect 2. Thus, Peele won the Director of the Year award at CinemaCon this week, meaning the nation’s theater owners all love how his movie keeps packing in audiences long after most modern films would have faded away.

After receiving the award, Peele spoke to THR about what he hopes Hollywood learns from Get Out’s success (particularly as it comes after the similar success of Straight Outta Compton and Hidden Figures). Hollywood, of course, usually learns the wrong lessons from success, but Peele hopes that surely the trend of well-performing black-helmed or black-fronted movies is too consistent at this point to be considered a fluke:

I think the lesson is that when you give black voices a platform and the opportunity to tell our story, we will tell good stories just like anybody else. The power of story and the power of a well-crafted film or television show is really all you need to speak to people. I think Hollywood is sort of catching up to that. We’re at the beginning of a renaissance where people are realizing black films can not only work at the box office, but they can work because there’s been a void. Get Out is fresh and novel and new because at the base level it has a black, male protagonist in a horror movie. It is no mistake that the iconic image from this movie is Daniel’s face with tears streaming down his cheeks. We haven’t seen that before. Usually in horror movies — as in Blair Witch — it is the white girl’s crying face.

Peele is currently in the process of picking his next project, but the offers are pouring in, including a rumor about him targeted as the director of a live-action Akira. However, his sketch-comedy career is officially over. The future for him is in writing and directing social thrillers like Get Out. Maybe others will get a similar chance due to Get Out’s success.

Source: THR



  1. Other than Get Out, the only horror movie with a black male lead I can think of is Night of the Living Dead (which was beyond revolutionary at the time), but that’s pretty much it (other than something like Blacula or Tales from the Hood, which bring up other problems entirely). Hopefully that trend shifts.
    The real lesson Hollywood should learn from Get Out is that small budgeted films with good talent behind them can absolutely slay at the box office. Blumhouse already knows this, they thrive on it, but if bigger studios get in on it too, we’ll see more original, better cinematic content that gets wide audiences to keep coming in.

    1. For obvious reasons, Get Out’s success is always going to first be framed in racial terms. However, you’ve pointed out the biggest takeaway quite perfectly: “The real lesson Hollywood should learn from Get Out is that small budgeted films with good talent behind them can absolutely slay at the box office.” Blumhouse has perfected this, and now something like the mid-budget Logan is also you can do a smart blockbuster on half the budget you’re used to using and actually get a better film and even bigger total gross.

      Really, Netflix has it right – hire smart filmmakers, and then get the fuck out of there way and let them do their thing. It’s such a simple model that the rest of the film industry is too stubborn and weighed down by corporate concerns to fully emulate, creating little pockets here and there of progress amidst the sea of same ol, same ol.

  2. My biggest fear is people really overhyping Jordan right now, only to turn on him later, like they did with M. Night Shyamalan, the moment he turns in a less than perfect film about anything, or doesn’t live up to their expectations somehow.

    American audiences have a nasty habit of hyping these directors so high, and then trying to tear down their careers the moment they make a mistake.

    1. The hype problem is probably even more magnified for Peele because of the internet and social media being so much more pervasive than they were back when M. Night first broke through. Either way, it’s pretty much inevitable that his next thing will be judged, fairly or not, against Get Out, and the way this tends to work out is his next thing won’t be quite as loved but then the one he does after that will be embraced, partially because people won’t be so quick to compare it to Get Out. However, if he makes Akira, as rumored, then who knows because that would be so different than Get Out it would almost render comparisons pointless.

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