Nope is streaming online — but you should go see it in theaters

(L to R) Keke Palmer as Emerald Haywood, Daniel Kaluuya as OJ and Steven Yeun as Jupe Park in NOPE
(Image credit: Universal)

I was absolutely excited when Jordan Peele's Nope's digital release date was announced earlier this week. But, as shocked as I am to be saying this, I advise first-time watchers to try and find it at their local theater.

Yes, even though it's been out since July 22, Nope is still available at many a multiplex near me in NYC. And there's good reason, because this is the kind of film that truly benefits from the stuff you get (and don't get) when you leave the house and go to a cinema.

Of course, a caveat up front. I understand that some folks may prefer to watch at home because of safety concerns, as the Covid-19 pandemic isn't over yet. Others may act like it is, but I still hear stories of at least one friend getting infected every week or so. 

But, if you're feeling able to go to a theater, then you really ought to use the opportunity to see Nope as it's meant to be seen, before you cannot. Oh, and one other piece of advice? I hope this below trailer is the only Nope preview you've seen, as the rest just give too much away.

Nope feels like it's meant to be shared

Having seen both Get Out and Us (Jordan Peele's two previous films) in theaters, I had a hunch Nope would provide a similar theatrical experience. I won't be the first to tell you, I bet, that horror and thriller movies are particularly different than most films. These movies are intended to provoke a reaction from the audience. 

Sometimes I go to a horror movie expecting some of this, and I get a whole lot of this. For example, there were two people (on opposite sides of the cinema) at the same The Black Phone screening I was at who yelped noticeably loud whenever a certain kind of moment happened. 

Nope provides some of these moments, but it often toys with the audience. What you think is a scare is something else, and a playful humor jumps out. Some in my audience were annoyed by this. Personally? I was delighted to hear the nuances in reactions.

And, then, of course, there was the other reason to see it in theaters.

Nope is a stunner meant to draw your awe

There are two reasons why the press photos for Nope mostly involve the cast looking up in awe. The first, of course, is based around some plot details that I wouldn't dare spoil here. The second? 

Well, looking up with a dropped-jaw is how my body was situated during some of Nope's best scenes. Those moments feel akin to Top Gun: Maverick's best moments. Eyes widened at the spectacle presented in front of you in a chaotic moment, wondering when the film will relent. 

So, as much as I appreciate a big screen at home (mine is a 55-inch LG set), your home TV set will probably not eclipse your field of view the way a movie screen will. And Nope, I promise you, is designed to wrap around your field of view.

My advice

Yes, Nope is available for digital on-demand rental on  Amazon , Apple  and Vudu, as well as the other standard services. But it's the kind of movie that goes from subtle to grandiose in mere moments. 

Unlike a lot of movies these days that could simply just be heard and not seen when you check your phone, Nope is a film meant for undivided attention. As someone who's seen it in the theater, trust me: It's worth it.

Next: Here is a list of the best Fall TV shows we can't wait to see. And these 7 must-stream Hulu shows are 95% or higher on Rotten Tomatoes.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.