(CNN) — Jordan Peele’s new horror film terrified audiences and shattered expectations at the box office this weekend.
“Us,” the director’s second film, made an estimated $70.3 million in North America — more than tripling its production budget of $20 million.
It exceeded industry expectations in a big way. The film was initially projected by industry experts to bring in closer to $45 million this weekend.
The R-rated film stars Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke as parents trying to fend off an attack from evil Doppelgängers. The film has made $87 million worldwide.
“There’s nothing scary about horror for Hollywood,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.
“Us” is another hit for Peele and Universal.
Peele’s “Get Out” was a critically acclaimed blockbuster in theaters two years ago. It hauled in $255 million at the box office globally — $33 million on its opening weekend. That was 56 times its budget. “Get Out” was also nominated for four Oscars, and Peele won for Best Original Screenplay. As for Universal, the studio now has the second, third and fourth biggest openings of the year — with “Us,” “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” and “Glass.”
The No. 1 opening in 2019 was by “Captain Marvel,” from Disney and Marvel Studios.
“Us” represents another horror hit for Hollywood. Scary films such as “It,” “Halloween” and “A Quiet Place” have made big money on low budgets in recent years.
Strong reviews and word of mouth helped propel “Us.”
The film has a 94% score on review site Rotten Tomatoes and has been building buzz since its premiere at Austin’s SXSW conference earlier this month. Audiences gave it a CinemaScore of B.