‘A Dog’s Purpose,’ ‘Resident Evil 6’ take aim at ‘Split’


Two Universal titles are duking it out this weekend for box office supremacy: M. Night Shyamalan’s thriller Split, which ruled the roost last week with a $40 million debut, and the decidedly more family-friendly A Dog’s Purpose. The latter movie has some controversy nipping at its heels in the form a leaked video purported to show a dog being mistreated on-set. Not the greatest thing for a movie geared towards dog-lovers. That, paired with poor reviews, should keep A Dog’s Purpose in Split’s wake.

Also new to theatres this weekend is Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, the sixth movie in Paul W.S. Anderson’s zombie-strewn videogame franchise. Predictions are for this one to hit the mid-teens to A Dog’s Purpose’s high teens; if The Final Chapter holds its own and the A Dog's Purpose controversy is particularly potent, Milla J might even be able to outearn her canine competition. In any case, The Final Chapter is likely to turn in the worst opening for the Resident Evil franchise so far. That dubious honor currently belongs to movie number one, which opened to $17.7 million in 2002.

The final new wide release of the weekend is The Weinstein Company's Gold, opening on 2,166 screens. That’s around a thousand screens fewer than A Dog’s Purpose, Resident Evil and Split. Though Gold at one time looked like a surefire prestige picture, buzz has been mostly non-existent, and the reviews have been pretty terrible. (Despite an awards-qualifying run last month, the extent of Gold’s major recognition is a Golden Globe nod for Best Original Song). Gold is not expected to breach the top five.

Speaking of awards season, in the wake of this week’s Oscar nominations several heavy hitters are expanding to additional theatres. First among those is La La Land, which adds 1,271 to its count, for a total of 3,136 screens. Also expanding are Best Picture nominees Arrival, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight, Hacksaw Ridge and Fences, plus Moana (Best Original Song, Best Animated Feature), Jackie (Best Actress, Best Costume Design, Best Original Score), Toni Erdmann (Best Foreign-Language Film) and The Red Turtle (Best Animated Feature).

Among this weekend’s new limited releases are Kung Fu Yoga, The Salesman and Midsummer in Newtown.