This weekend, the Super Bowl frame was as slow as usual at North American multiplexes and the suspense thriller Split topped the chart for the third straight time. Universal’s sleeper hit grossed an estimated $14.6M slipping only 43% and came within striking distance of the century mark with a new total of $98.7M.
Split marks only the second film ever for director M. Night Shyamalan to spend its first three weekends at number one after the 1999 smash The Sixth Sense which held the lead during its first five sessions. His 2002 blockbuster Signs held the top spot for three non-consecutive weekends. Split should crack $100M by Tuesday and could find its way to around $135M by the end of its domestic run – an amazing result for a film that cost under $10M to produce.
On Saturday, Split surpassed the $95M of 2000’s Unbreakable to become the fifth biggest film all-time for Shyamalan and should be able to pass The Village and The Last Airbender next. International grosses for the James McAvoy hit climbed to $44M on a trajectory towards the $100M mark from overseas territories.
The franchise horror film Rings debuted in second place with an estimated $13M from 2,931 locations for a decent $4,435 average. Critics gave an across-the-board thumbs down to the PG-13 chiller and paying audiences agreed as the CinemaScore grade was a C-. 2002’s The Ring, a remake of the Japanese hit, opened to $15M and a $7,580 average when ticket prices were much lower and had exceptional legs finishing with a robust $129.1M. The 2005 sequel The Ring Two debuted bigger with $35.1M, but much of the excitement for this brand has since eroded. Competition from the red hot Split was a contributing factor too. Paramount saw good results from international markets this weekend where Rings is outperforming other recent horror films.
The controversial drama A Dog’s Purpose enjoyed a reasonably good second weekend hold declining by 41% to an estimated $10.8M taking third place. Universal has grossed $32.9M thus far and may end up in the $55-60M range.
Two Academy Award contenders for Best Picture followed which are both among the highest grossing films so far in 2017. The only movie in the top ten this weekend to drop by less than 30% was Hidden Figures with an estimated $10.1M, off only 28%. Winning the SAG award for Best Cast last week helped keep the momentum and attention going for the Fox release which has grossed an extraordinary $119.4M to date. Breaking $150M seems likely for the $25M-budgeted film. Dropping 39% was the musical La La Land with an estimated $7.5M pushing the cume for Lionsgate to $118.3M. The international take rose to $150M putting the global tally at $268.3M with China opening on Valentine’s Day.
Low-cost original movies have attracted huge audiences so far in 2017. The combined production budgets for top-grossers Hidden Figures, La La Land, and Split amount to $65M yet the three hits are on course to gross together over $800M worldwide.
Crashing 67% in its second weekend was the zombie sequel Resident Evil: The Final Chapter which took in an estimated $4.5M for a cume of $21.9M. The worldwide take sits at $115M so far for Sony.
Animation sensation Sing followed with an estimated $4.1M, down 36%, for a hefty new total of $262.9M for Universal. Global sits at $487M with solid numbers coming in from Europe where it is still new while China, Russia, and Japan are still to come. Close behind was Best Picture Oscar nominee Lion which expanded to its widest point yet and grossed an estimated $4M this weekend from 1,405 locations. The Weinstein Co. has banked $24.7M to date.
There were very few takers for the new boy-from-Mars drama The Space Between Us which flopped with an opening of an estimated $3.8M from 2,812 locations for a dismal $1,358 average for STX. Rounding out the top ten was Paramount’s action sequel xXx: Return of Xander Cage with an estimated $3.7M, down 57%, for a sum of $40M with global now at $152.4M.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $76.1M which was up a scant 1% from last year when Kung Fu Panda 3 stayed at number one with $21.2M; but down 43% from 2015 when the Super Bowl was a week earlier and The Spongebob Movie opened in the top spot with $55.4M.