Jordan Peele's highly-anticipated film "Us" hit theater on Friday. The film is facing sky-high expectations, thanks to the massive success of Peele's debut film, "Get Out."
By every measure imaginable, "Get Out" was a tremendous success. The film had a budget of $4.5 million and brought in over $255 million world-wide, becoming the most profitable film of 2017. The film also earned Peele an Oscar for best original screenplay, making him the first African-American to win the award.
"Us" had a substantially larger budget of $20 million. In order for "Us" to be as profitable as "Get Out," the film would need to earn around $270 million.
The writer, director and comedian spoke with Indie Wire about the difference in budget negotiations the second time around. "The cards were kind of in my hands," Peele says. "It didn't feel like an audition. It was me telling them, 'This is what I want to do, this is where I want to do it, how's that sound?'"
The director says he wanted a budget that afforded him the perfect amount of creative freedom.
"I was like, look, I want to be able to take my filmmaking up a notch, so I want to be able to make a bigger budget movie," he explains. "But I don't want to make such a big budget movie that all of a sudden we've crossed this line where the risk means you're going to be f-----g with my story."
He continues, "I had about five times the budget on this one, which by movie standards is still not that expensive of a film. That was the key for me. Otherwise, I may not have had my freedom. As a filmmaker, I also thrive with a certain restriction. I didn't want to overreach with the budget and all of a sudden have a studio being responsible on me."
That confidence also impacted Peele's writing process for "Us" compared to "Get Out."
During his Oscars acceptance speech for "Get Out," Peele said "I stopped writing this movie about 20 times, because I thought it was impossible. I thought it wasn't going to work. I thought no one would ever make this movie."
But with his sophomore film, Peele approached the project with a sense of determined responsibility. "I had to make this movie efficiently," he tells Variety of writing "Us". "Now that I know people will listen, I had a whole different responsibility."
This commitment may pay off. The Hollywood Reporter reports that the film is projected to take in between $38 million to $48 million over its debut weekend. Some analysts project that the film could even surpass $50 million.
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