It has been quite some time since M. Night Shyamalan had a bona fide hit on his hands. While he was quickly proclaimed to be the next great filmmaker after a string of successes in The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs, his decline in popularity and quality was just as steep. However, after the director managed to win people back with The Visit in 2015, there was much interest in whether his latest film Split would maintain that upward trajectory. The story follows three girls – led by Anya Taylor-Joy’s Kasey – and their attempts to escape their kidnapper (James McAvoy). This becomes increasingly difficult when they discover that their captor has 23 different personalities living inside him – with a terrifying 24th personality about to rise to the surface.
The trailers teased a powerful performance from McAvoy and the continued rise of Taylor-Joy after her role in the Pilgrim-era horror film The Witch, and it looks like Split could be a solid outing for Shyamalan again. Projections put the film near $20 million in its opening weekend as it was scheduled to have to fight off Vin Diesel’s xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, but the latest projections show that Xander Cage was no match.
The Wrap is reporting that Split is on track to double expectations and land north of $40 million when the weekend comes to a close today. This is thanks to the film over-performing on Saturday to the tune of $16.5 million alone. Even with the surprising success of Split, xXx did not lose steam. The movie is still on track to earn near $20 million. Meanwhile, Hidden Figures is projected to hit over $16 million in its third weekend, with Sing and La La Land rounding out the top five with $9 million projections.
This is an unquestionable victory for Shyamalan and Universal, especially when taking into consideration the fact that Split was produced on a slender $10 million budget. With the movie already proving profitable and generating positive buzz, Split could continue to be top priority for audiences in the coming weeks.
Just how big a Sunday the film has could largely determine where Split‘s opening weekend places when compared to Shyamalan’s previous films. Only Avatar: The Last Airbender ($40.3M), The Village ($50.7M), and Signs ($60.1M) could be higher in terms of opening weekend numbers, but Split could very well pass The Last Airbender to give the director his biggest opening since 2004. Shyamalan could now once again be in a good place with studios after this success, making it more plausible that his “robust outline” for a sequel gets made.
Source: The Wrap