The last time M. Night Shyamalan had a film sitting at the top of the box office for three weeks in a row, it was still the 20th century.
That long streak is finally over as Split is poised to top the box office for the third week in a row, knocking down a worthy challenge from Paramount Pictures’ re-entry into the horror genre Rings, with an estimated $14.6 million.
In 17 days, the James McAvoy film has grossed just under $100 million domestically, and about $124 million globally. Yet nothing seems strong enough to unseat it.
Rings continues the long-standing horror franchise that began in 2002 with The Ring. Its $13 million opening isn’t too far off of the $15 million the original film pulled in for Halloween that year. That is until you adjust for inflation, and then the difference grows from $2 million to $7.5 million.
Rings had a solid Friday night, according to The Numbers, but couldn’t maintain that momentum through the rest of the weekend.
STX Entertainment didn’t do too hot with The Space Between Us, either, which managed just $3.8 million from early estimates. Starring Asa Butterfield and Gary Oldman, the science-fiction romance has a long way to go to make up its $30 million budget.
A Dog’s Purpose slipped to No. 3 despite holding on to nearly 60 percent of its opening week audience with $10.8 million, while Hidden Figures managed fourth place with $10.1 million.
The $119.4 million Hidden Figures picked up in 43 days was enough to let it slip past heavy Oscar favorite La La Land in domestic box office, a film which finished fifth this weekend with $7.5 million.
The last Shyamalan film to spend its first three weeks at No. 1 was his first, The Sixth Sense, which went on to gross $672.8 million worldwide in 1999, or $991.1 million today. Yet, it wasn’t his last film to spend three weeks at No. 1.
That belonged to Signs, which opened at No. 1 with $60.1 million in 2002, and then fell to second the next two weeks behind xXx.
Signs regained the top spot in its fourth week, thanks to a fast box office fall for xXx, and maintained it a fifth week despite a sudden surge from the comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
The top five films for the weekend earned just under $56 million, down 33 percent from the week before, but slightly better against the same week last year when the top film was Kung Fu Panda 3 with $21.2 million.
However, the top five films are averaging just $79.6 million this year, 20 percent off the $99.5 million pace set through the first month or so of 2016.
Next weekend will certainly see a new No. 1 with three higher-profile releases coming out just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Universal Pictures will start it off with Fifty Shades Darker, the sequel to its 2015 hit Fifty Shades of Grey, which earned $571 million worldwide. Lionsgate offers something more for the action side with John Wick: Chapter 2, starring Keanu Reeves, which follows up its 2014 critical sleeper hit John Wick that grossed $76.2 million globally.
And then finally, Warner Bros. takes us back into the world of Legos with The Lego Batman Movie. It’s a spin-off of The Lego Movie, which earned $457.7 million in 2014.
Fifty Shades Darker is the current favorite to earn that top spot, but Warner Bros. has merged Batman with Legos, so it’s still a tough call at this point.
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