'Split' goes for threepeat over Super Bowl weekend


Expect a slow weekend at the box office as millions of sports fans and/or commercial enthusiasts tune into the Super Bowl this Sunday instead of hitting the movie theatre. That’s good news for reigning champ Split, which should have no trouble fending off weak competition in the form of Paramount’s Rings and STX’s The Space Between Us.

The former film is Split’s more obvious competition, seeing as both of them are horror. Rings has the fact that it’s part of an established IP on its side, but if last year taught us anything it’s that you can’t count on audiences showing up for sequels. Rings' reviews are overwhelmingly terrible, and Paramount seems to know they have a clunker on their hands: the movie’s been done for years and has had its release bumped several times, and on top of that reviews were embargoed until Friday morning, after public screenings already started. Never a good sign. An opening gross in the low teens is probably the most this one can expect.

The only other new wide release is The Space Between Us, a young-adult romance with a sci-fi tinge that, like Rings, is getting shellacked by critics. That said, distributor STX Entertainment generally knows their way around mid-budget titles; psychological thriller The Gift, R-rated comedy Bad Moms and last month's The Bye Bye Man all turned a profit despite being pretty low-profile releases, at least compared to larger studio fare. That said, The Space Between Us is nothing like any of those films in terms of genre and will probably land out of the top five, behind holdovers A Dog's Purpose, Hidden Figures and La La Land. Still, we could be looking at another upset from STX.

The Weinstein Company, on the hunt for that Oscar gold, will expand Lion from 575 theatres to 1,405—still a modest number, but the film's six Oscar nominations have given its buzz a bump, so it may be able to muscle its way into the top ten. New to theatres in limited release are I Am Not Your Negro, The Lure, War on Everyone, Chapter & Verse and The Comedian.