By Dave McNary | Variety

Jordan Peele’s horror-thriller “Us” will launch the 26th edition of the South by Southwest Film Festival on March 8.

Us,” which follows a family confronted by a group of doppelgängers, stars Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, and Elisabeth Moss. Nyong’o and Duke play a couple who are taking their children to their beach house.

The movie is the first project under Peele’s first-look deal with Universal Pictures, which he signed with his Monkeypaw Productions last year after his “Get Out” grossed a massive $255 million worldwide. “Get Out” didn’t just become a box office sensation — it also scored an Oscar nomination for best picture and landed Peele a statue for best original screenplay.

Peele directed “Us” from his own script and produced alongside Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, and Monkeypaw’s Ian Cooper. “Us” will open in North America on March 15. It’s the first solo production project from Monkeypaw.

“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 for the festival. “We honestly couldn’t imagine a more perfect film to kick off the 2019 SXSW Film Festival.”

It’s the second year in a row that SXSW will open with a horror movie. John Krasinski’s thriller “A Quiet Place” launched the festival last year. SXSW opened in 2017 with the world premiere of Terrence Malick’s “Song to Song,” starring Rooney Mara, Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, and Natalie Portman. Prior to that, Richard Linklater’s “Everybody Wants Some!!” was the opening night film in 2016.

SXSW will close on March 18. The Austin, Texas-based event screened 132 features, including 86 world premieres, at the 2018 festival. It will unveil the rest of its lineup on Jan. 16 and Feb. 6.

 

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