M. Night Shyamalan's Split is the surprise success story of early 2017, what with the drama/thriller earning the filmmaker the best reviews that he's seen in years and generating interest in a sequel, thank to its much talked-about big twists. The film cost $10 million to produce and has quickly become a lucrative investment for both Universal and Blumhouse Productions (which also collaborated with Shyamalan on his 2015 thriller, The Visit), after having earned over $50 million in its first week of theatrical release in the U.S. alone.
Split was able to fend-off the Vin Diesel-led franchise revival/sequel xXx: Return of Xander Cage during its opening weekend at the U.S. box office too. The expectation heading into Split's second weekend in theaters was that it would continue to reign atop the box office, even while facing off against newcomers Resident Evil: The Final Chapter and A Dog's Purpose. So far, that has very much proven to be the case - at least during the Friday box office showdown.
Variety is reporting that Split held onto the top spot at the Friday box office, taking in approximately $8 million and setting it on a course to gross $25-26 million over its second weekend playing in theaters. That's a good holdover from the film's opening weekend take in the U.S. (where it grossed some $40 million), suggesting that general audiences are spreading the initial positive word-of-mouth around the movie. These developments bode all the better for Shymalan, given that the filmmaker has already begun the writing process for Split's followup, with an eye on making it his next directorial effort.
A Dog's Purpose settled for second place at the Friday box office, taking in $5.3 million and setting the family-friendly drama on course for a opening weekend take in the vicinity of $19 million. The film was originally expected to open with as much at $25 million at the U.S. box office, but that was before the much-publicized leaking of a video from the movie's set that seems to show one of the dogs in the film being forced to perform a dangerous stunt against its will. A Dog's Purpose's producers has since dismissed the video as being misleading and part of a smear campaign, but the backlash coupled a weak critical reception (it only has a 33% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes) have already done its damage to the movie's commercial prospects.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, by comparison, is performing right in line with previous box office expectations. The supposed final installment in the Paul W.S. Anderson/Milla Jovovich era of the video game movie series took in $5 million at the Friday box office and should make $12-13 million total, by the weekend's end. Enthusiasm around the Resident Evil franchise has dwindled over the 4 to 5 years since the last installment, Resident Evil: Retribution, hit theaters in 2012 and the early consensus is that The Final Chapter is really only for hardcore fans of these movies. That said, The Final Chapter cost $40 million to produce and has already grossed over $35 million worldwide, so it should prove to be profitable in the end.
Newly-minted Best Picture Oscar nominees and crowd-pleasers, Hidden Figures and La La Land look to round out the top five at the U.S. box office this weekend, with total takes of $14 million and $12 million, respectively. Whereas those movies were buoyed by their Academy Award nominations, the Matthew McConaughey-headlined drama Gold failed to land much love from the Academy - and it showed at the box office. The film only took in some $1 million on its first day of wide release on Friday and looks to join movies such as The Founder, on the list of would-be Oscar contenders that failed to make the cut this awards season.
- Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017) release date: Jan 27, 2017
- Gold (2016) release date: Dec 25, 2016
- A Dog's Purpose (2017) release date: Jan 27, 2017