Jordan Peele knows that Get Out‘s massive, unexpected success has the rest of Hollywood drooling — but he cautions other filmmakers that it will be difficult to duplicate. “I wouldn’t be surprised if people are trying to figure out the next horror movie about race or racism,” the director told the Los Angeles Times. “But it will probably be tough, just because I know how tough it was figuring out this one.”
Peele’s directorial debut, a deeply entertaining horror film about a young black man’s nightmarish visit to his white girlfriend’s parents’ home, was made for just $4.5 million and has earned $137.7 million and counting, according to Box Office Mojo, making it the year’s #4 movie at the box office, right below the big-budget franchise films Beauty and the Beast, Logan, and The Lego Batman Movie. Get Out (which opened on Feb. 24) has accomplished this by drawing audiences week after week, thanks to excellent word of mouth and a culturally relevant story that audiences are itching to discuss. But Peele told the L.A. Times that things could have gone in a very different direction.
“I thought, ‘What if white people don’t want to come see the movie because they’re afraid of being villain-ized with black people in the crowd? What if black people don’t want to see the movie because they don’t want to sit next to a white person while a black person is being victimized on-screen?‘” Peele said. ‘”All those questions were in my mind.”
Instead of being divisive, the film seems to have united audiences by turning the difficult topics of racism and cultural appropriation into easily digestible entertainment (that nevertheless refuses to let viewers off the hook). Meanwhile Peele, who is best known for his work as half of the comedy duo Key and Peele, has revitalized that idea that horror films can carry important messages. That said, producer Jason Blum, best known for his microbudget horror films, agrees with Peele that Get Out‘s success will be tough to replicate.
“If your starting point is, ‘Let’s get into the Get Out business,’ I’d say you should stick with action movies,” Blum told the newspaper. “It’s fundamentally so against my DNA to say, ‘Well, this movie worked — now let’s go make a horror movie about immigration!’”
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