Oscar-winning filmmaker Jordan Peele is a studio moneymaker — his feature directorial debut, “Get Out,” made over $250 million in worldwide receipts for Universal Pictures — but Peele still seems to believe in the power of some solid festival buzz. He notably debuted “Get Out” as a secret screening at Sundance in 2017, just weeks before it hit theaters, and his much-anticipated followup will follow a similar route. “Us,” starring Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke, will open the 2019 SXSW Film Festival on March 8, days before its March 15 opening.
“We are crazy excited to world premiere the most anticipated film of 2019 from the creative powerhouse that brought us ‘Get Out,’” said Janet Pierson, Director of Film, in an official statement. “We honestly couldn’t imagine a more perfect film to kick off the 2019 SXSW Film Festival.”
Per the film’s official synopsis: “Set in present day along the iconic Northern California coastline, ‘Us,’ stars Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o as Adelaide Wilson, a woman returning to her beachside childhood home with her husband, Gabe, and their two children (Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex) for an idyllic summer getaway. Haunted by an unexplainable and unresolved trauma from her past and compounded by a string of eerie coincidences, Adelaide feels her paranoia elevate to high-alert as she grows increasingly certain that something bad is about to befall her family. After spending a tense beach day with their friends, the Tylers (Emmy winner Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Cali Sheldon, Noelle Sheldon), Adelaide and her family return to their vacation home to discover the silhouettes of four figures standing in their driveway. ‘Us’ pits an ordinary American family against a terrifying and uncanny opponent: doppelgängers of themselves.”
Last month, when the “Get Out” filmmaker introduced the film’s first trailer to a group of journalists, he noted that, while it was important for him to make a film with “a black family at the center,” this film “unlike ‘Get Out,’ is not about race.” He also promised that the feature is a horror film, and that he was compelled to making a “new horror mythology and a new monster.”
That first trailer — which you can check out below — leaves plenty of room open for interpretation, zinging from a relatively straightforward start to a chilling middle and a conclusion that’s rife with obvious (if unexplained) symbolism.
This year’s SXSW Film Festival takes place March 8 – 16 in Austin, Texas. SXSW Film Festival will release its Feature slate on Wednesday, January 16, 2019 (except for Midnighters and Festival Favorites). Midnighters, Festival Favorites, Shorts, Episodic Pilot Competition, Virtual Cinema, Music Videos, and Title Sequence Competition will be announced on Wednesday, February 6, 2019.
Check out the first trailer for “Us” below. Universal Pictures will release on “Us” on March 15, 2019.