Lupita Nyong’o Leads ‘Us’ to Biggest Opening Weekend Ever for a Black Woman

By Tiarra Mukherjee Mar 27, 2019

Jordan Peele’s second film, “Us,” is smashing records and barriers. It earned a whopping $71.2 million during its opening weekend, making it the second biggest opener of the year behind “Captain Marvel” ($153 million). The hugely anticipated follow-up to the Oscar-winning “Get Out” has broken a number of records, including the biggest opening for any original horror movie and the best of any R-Rated film. But as Shadow and Act reported yesterday (March 26), it also reached another important milestone: it’s the biggest opening weekend gross for a film with a Black woman in the top-billed spot.

Lupita Nyong’o’s turn as Adelaide Wilson/Red has garned wide acclaim (the buzz for a best actress Oscar is building) and it has box office cash to match, nearly doubling the $38.2 million record previously held by headliner Saana Lathan for 2004’s “Alien vs. Predator.” 

Per Shadow and Act and Box Office Mojo, these are the top five highest-grossing films starring Black women in the United States:


  1. Us (2019) – Lupita Nyong’o, $71 million
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  3. Alien v. Predator (2004) – Sanaa Lathan, $38 million
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  5. A Wrinkle In Time (2018) – Oprah Winfrey, $33 million
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  7. Girls Trip (2018) – Regina Hall, $31 million
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  9. Why Did I Get Married Too?  Janet Jackson, $29 million
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