Nope, the latest film from writer-director Jordan Peele, finished atop the domestic box office in its opening weekend. 

Nope earned $44 million to become Peele’s third movie to debut at No. 1, joining Get Out and Us, per Deadline. It’s the highest-grossing domestic opening for an original screenplay since Peele’s last film Us in 2019. While Us grossed $70.3 million and exceeded expectations by slightly over $25 million, Nope fell short of meeting its $50 million projection.  

Peele’s previous two films have maintained a Rotten Tomatoes score above 90 percent, while Nope currently sits at 82 percent with an audience score of 71 percent. It was also given a B rating on CinemaScore. 

Analysts aren’t too concerned about Nope’s debut figures or less than favorable reviews since Peele has developed a reputation as a filmmaker who rewards audiences with repeated viewings. Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian mentioned that Peele’s previous titles greatly benefited from word of mouth and anticipates much of the same this time around. 

“When it comes to Jordan Peele, it’s not so much about the opening weekend as much as it’s about building that word of mouth,” Dergarabedian told CNN Business. “His movies are in it for the long haul.”

Peele discussed that element of his films in a recent interview with Complex. “I think people like to watch people watch my movies. So I think after they have seen it, you like to go and feel that feeling of the audience’s reactions again and there’s also layers baked into it and people can feel that,” he explained.

“I think sometimes people like to watch the movie intently and really try to treasure hunt and figure everything out,” Peele continued. “Sometimes you don’t want to think too hard, you want to walk into a movie, you want to be taken care of, you want to be taken to a different place, you want to be put back in your car, and I think Nope can do either one of those for you.”