Us Broke a Big Box Office Record—Consider It the Umpteenth Reminder that Black Narratives Are Marketable

Lupita Nyong’o, in Us
Lupita Nyong’o, in Us
Screenshot: Universal Pictures (YouTube)

The movie that had one of the best marketing campaigns known to man (shout-out to the scissors and fan art, just to name a couple), was helmed by a man debuting a highly anticipated follow-up to his first feature (a huge hit!), and dominated every social media feed for the past few months since its trailer dropped...did really, really fucking well on its opening weekend.

Quelle surprise! 

According to TIME, Jordan Peele’s Us raked in $70.3 million in its opening weekend, making it the largest-ever debut for an original horror film. The only films it trails in the genre, It (2018) and Halloween (2018), were a remake and sequel, respectively. The now-blockbuster Us made back its $20 million budget and then some in just a couple of days; and thanks to the classic word-of-mouth marketing technique (which creates major FOMO), that number is only expected to climb—and fast.


Once news broke of the film’s fabulous feat, white entertainment media collectively lost its shit. As if this were an anomaly. As if Will Smith strutted up to them dressed in a dapper tux and stuck a memory-eraser stick in their faces.


Next thing you know, they’ll be shocked the film did well overseas!

This shock-and-awe is reminiscent of the near-implosion that occurred in Hollywood when it found out a bunch of black women could go on a trip, hilarious shenanigans could ensue, and audiences would somehow be here for it.


Or maybe that time a Marvel film starring a black cast surpassed any and all expectations for an origin story.


With Us, Peele has essentially cemented himself into the pop culture zeitgeist once again, much like he did with Get Out. It may be a surprise to them, but it’s not a surprise to us.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.

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Okay good now take this power to the polls in 2020. For real this weekend showed two things, one we have disposable income and can be marketable and that Mueller wasn’t going to save us. If we can line up for this we can line up to vote.