M. Night Shyamalan is now becoming the conquerer of franchises.
OK, it’s not like they’re anything other than floundering franchises, but still. The director’s box office sleeper hit Split not only held on to the No. 1 weekend box office slot this weekend, it did it by stopping a threat from the Resident Evil franchise.
Split, which stars James McAvoy as a man with dissociative disorder who could derive some inspiration from another Shyamalan film, earned $26.3 million at the box office this weekend, according to early studio estimates provided by The Numbers. That may have been down a strong 34 percent from the previous week, but none of the new films going wide release even had a chance.
That includes Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, which managed just $13.9 million – good enough for fourth place. That’s right … not only did the Milla Jovovich film fail to even put up a fight for first place, it’s not even the biggest new movie of the week. Instead, that crown goes to the Dennis Quaid and Josh Gad film A Dog’s Purpose, which pulled in $18.4 million and second place.
In fact, Dog’s Purpose has provided Universal Pictures with an extraordinary weekend at the box office with the top two films, and three in the top 10 thanks to the $6.2 million weekend of Sing.
Resident Evil films have never had huge first weekends, but The Final Chapter delivered the worst opening weekend since the original Resident Evil debuted with $17.7 million in March 2002. Subsequent films had openings closer to $25 million, and all opened at No. 1, except the original, which debuted at No. 2.
The most recent film in the franchise, Resident Evil: Retribution, opened with $21.1 million in September 2012, on its way to a domestic gross of just $42.3 million, but a massive take overseas of just under $200 million, to bring its total to $238.9 million. That put the film outside the top 75 in domestic releases for the year, but within the top 35 when it came to worldwide grosses.
The Final Chapter already is pulling in solid numbers overseas with $37.2 million, led almost entirely by Japan so far. Even if Americans aren’t interested in what Jovovich is doing in the Resident Evil universe, Sony Pictures should be happy that at least the rest of the world is.
The musical La La Land, fresh off its record-tying performance with Oscar nominations, finished in fifth place with $12.1 million.
Hidden Figures may not have had the same impressive day with the Oscars, but its third place finish over the weekend put it past the $100 million mark domestically, which moves it into the top 25 films of 2016. It’s international performance hasn’t been as solid, with less than $1 million.
The top five films for the weekend earned $84.6 million, which is slightly better than how the box office did the year before when Kung Fu Panda 3 led the way with $41.3 million, knocking down The Revenant to second place with $12.8 million.
Next weekend should provide some interesting competition for Split to see if it can do a third week in a row. Paramount Pictures is pushing out another horror entry with its bit of a modern retelling of a popular early 2000s classic with Rings.
And STX Entertainment, which found huge success last year with Bad Moms, is trying something a little more science-fiction with The Space Between Us, starring Hugo‘s Asa Butterfield.
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