The year is not yet done and Jordan Peele’s horror masterpiece “Get Out” has already been declared the most profitable movie of the year. The movie, which is the highest-grossing original screenplay ever, had a 630 percent return on investment, according to TheWrap.
Peele was given a $4.5 million budget by Blumhouse Productions to work with on “Get Out,” grossing $252 million worldwide. M. Night Shyamalan‘s “Split,” also produced by Blumhouse, had a 610 percent return on investments on a global haul of $277 million. It is the second-highest most profitable film of the year.
Thriller “The Perfect Guy” narrowly beat out horror film “The Visit” for first place at the weekend box office, picking up a leading $26.7 million.
“The Visit,” M. Night Shyamalan’s return to the shock and chills genre that made him famous with “The Sixth Sense,” was close behind with a sterling $25.7 million. Going into the weekend, both films were expected to pull in between $15 million and $17 million.
“The Perfect Guy” has more than doubled its $12 million budget in a single weekend, putting it on a path to profitability. The story of a successful lobbyist (Sanaa Lathan) who rebounds from a breakup by embarking on a new relationship with a Mr. Wrong (Michael Ealy) was backed by Sony’s ScreenGems division. The studio had a similar success on the same weekend last year when “No Good Deed,” a thriller with Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson, debuted to $24.2 million.
“It’s ideal timing, because there’s not a lot of competition in the marketplace and you can really stand out with a slightly lower [ad] spend,” said Josh Greenstein, president of worldwide marketing and distribution at Sony.
In order to bring in its audience while keeping costs at a minimum, the studio aggressively went after African-American moviegoers. It launched a BET Awards takeover for “The Perfect Guy” and also debuted a customized trailer to appear alongside “Straight Outta Compton” that was wordless save for a sultry rendition of “I Put a Spell On You.”
“We wanted to sell it as a sexy, taut thriller,” said Greenstein. The picture marks the first ScreenGems title he has handled the marketing campaign for since he was brought over to Sony from Paramount Pictures in 2014.
One of Hollywood’s most powerful black agents is making a new start. Charles King is leaving William Morris Endeavor to form MACRO, a startup that will focus on developing content for multicultural audiences.
With an unspecified “eight figures” in funding, Los Angeles-based MACRO initially will focus on developing and distributing feature films, TV series and digital content targeting African-American, Latino and multicultural markets.
King, 45, whose clients have included Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey, tells The Hollywood Reporter that MACRO’s goal is to focus on audiences that have long been underserved by the traditional entertainment industry. “I’ve been sitting in these rooms for the last 15 years. The studios aren’t focused on it; the packagers aren’t focused on it,” he says. “There’s a huge void and a huge opportunity.”
He points to the lack of capital available to minority-focused filmmakers and says he’s looking to change that with MACRO, which will leverage crowdfunding platforms and co-financing to target films that range from “artistically inclined independents” in the $1 million to $3 million budget range up to $20 million projects. He points to films such as Barbershop, The Butler and Ride Alongas examples of the types of projects he hopes to produce. “The one underlying theme is ‘premium,’ ” he says. “I’m looking for artistic integrity.”
King already has lined up projects from filmmakers Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station) and Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow). Both were represented by King at WME and say they jumped at the opportunity to continue to work with him in a new capacity.