'Split' surprises with strong $40 million opening


M. Night Shyamalan’s Split came roaring out of the gate this weekend, earning $40.1 million against a reported $10 million budget. That gives the film the highest per-theatre average of the weekend and the fourth highest January opening of all time. This is the second success in a row for Shyamalan, whose career was once deemed DOA—his last film, The Visit, like Split a low budget-thriller, opened to $25.4 million against a $5 million budget and eventually topped out at $98.4 million worldwide. 

In the case of number two finisher xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, earnings were more in line with expectations: $20 million on 3,561 screens. In foreign markets, its earnings so far total $50.5 million, a testament to the actioner’s international-skewing ensemble cast. (Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen is present, as is China’s Kris Wu, Hindi star Deepika Padukone and Thai action icon Tony Jaa.)  Openings in several key international territories are still to come, among them South Korea, China and Japan.

Holdovers round out the top five, led by Fox’s breakout hit Hidden Figures (weekend gross $16.2 million), which dropped only 22.1% in its third week of wide release. So far, the ‘60s-set historical drama has grossed nearly $85 million worldwide against a $25 million budget. Spots four and five went to Sing (weekend gross $9 million, total gross $249.3 million) and La La Land (weekend gross $8.3 million, total gross $89.6 million).

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story fell out of the top five for the first time since its December 16 release, but Disney can take solace in the fact that the sci-fi saga’s $7 million weekend haul nudged it firmly over the $1 billion line worldwide. It’s the fourth of Disney’s 2016 releases cross that milestone, following Zootopia ($1.02 billion), Captain America: Civil War ($1.15 billion) and Finding Dory ($1.02 billion).

The Weinstein Company release The Founder managed to sneak into the top ten, its $3.75 million gross landing it at spot number nine. Moving on down the line, A24 expanded its 20th Century Women from 29 theatres to 650, leading to a weekend cume of $1.4 million. The only other new wide release was faith-based drama The Resurrection of Gavin Stone, which opened to $1.3 million on 887 theatres. In limited release, Sony Pictures Classics’ The Red Turtle pulled in $21.811 on a trio of screens.