Jordan Peele’s movie “US,” which hit theaters March 22nd, broke all kinds of records opening weekend. The thriller movie grossed a smooth $70 million, exceeding its expectations of only $68 million. But one of the movie’s breakthroughs hit home for African-American actresses and artists — its record of highest grossing movie for a film with a black woman lead.
Leading actress Lupita Nyong’o, 36, expressed her excitement on Instagram Sunday.
“What a way to end opening weekend! I’ve felt the support all around (woweee New York Times this week!) and am grateful for this moment. I’m having so much fun and looks like many of you had a scary good time at the theater this weekend too. ✂️🎟❤️
“Us” is Nyong’o’s first leading role, but it is significant to her already-stellar career. In the past, she’s won over the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences with her role as Patsey in 12 Years a Slaves. For her role, she won an Oscar for best supporting actress in 2014. (Let’s not forget she played the heck out of her role of Nakia in Black Panther.)
Before Nyong’o, the last black woman to make box-office history was Sanaa Lathan in her role of Alexa Woods in the 2004 sci-fi thriller Alien vs. Predator, according to Box Office Mojo. The movie grossed $38 million during its opening weekend. Next was Oprah Winfrey who was the top-billed star in A Wrinkle in Time, in which, brought in about $33 million during its 2018 opening. That same year Girls Trip’s Regina Hall lead the way. The movie grossed $31 million during its opening.
It appears that the milestones are set to continue, at least while Peele is in the position to continue opening doors for black actors/actresses.
“The way I look at it, I get to cast black people in my movies. I feel fortunate to be in this position where I can say to Universal, ‘I want to make a $20 million horror movie with a black family.’ And they say yes,” Peele said while speaking at an event at Los Angeles’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theater on Monday. “I don’t see myself casting a white dude as the lead in my movie.”