Split Leads Again for the Third Weekend
Universal Pictures’ horror thriller Split commanded the box office for the third consecutive weekend with $14.24 million. Paramount Pictures’ horror sequel Rings debuted in second place with $13.00 million, giving both the top two spots to horror films for the first time in many years. STX Entertainment’s new release The Space Between Us started in ninth place with $3.78 million. And Weinstein Company’s multiple-Oscar nominee Lion finally cracked the Top 10 with a 60 percent surge to $3.76 million and 10th place.
Split debuted in first place, as the original horror film doubled the opening for its main competition, action sequel xXx: Return of Xander Cage. It led in its second weekend too, experiencing one of the smallest second-weekend declines for any horror film in recent years, beating out two major new debuts. Now, Split led for an improbable third weekend — something virtually nobody would have predicted pre-release.
The film fell 43.8 percent, following its 35.9 percent decline the previous weekend. Both its weekend drops have been below 45 percent — impressive for the frontloaded horror genre, which usually experiences 60+ percent declines its second weekends and 45+ percent declines in its third weekend. Split has avoided that fate by its positive word of mouth and uncommon theater count increases on both its second and third weekends, unusual for a film that debuts in wide release.
Box office three-peats have been unusually common in the past few months, as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story did it in December/January and Moana did it in November/December. But both of those were among the most anticipated films of the year, as were several other films that accomplished the feat in 2016 such as Suicide Squad, Finding Dory, The Jungle Book and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. On the other hand, Split came somewhat out of the blue. Some of the earliest long range forecasts didn’t even have it leading on its opening weekend (although the forecasts almost all did by a few days before release, as the film steadily gained in pre-release buzz). Now it stands just shy of the $100 million mark, having earned $98.54 million total, and should likely cross $100 million early this week.
The main competitor for first place fell just a bit short, as Rings opened in second place with poor audience reviews. It started below the $15.0 million opening for the original The Ring, which was released in 2002, when ticket prices were much lower. Adjusted for inflation, the comparisons look even worse, debuting 41.8 percent behind The Ring and 72.5 percent behind 2005’s The Ring Two. But with a $25 million budget, this installment still might be able to make it into the black.
Both of the top two films at the box office were horror releases, something that hasn’t happened this decade. Horror doesn’t even take first place for the weekend that often, but the times it’s happened in the past five years — including Don’t Breathe, The Conjuring 2, Ouija, Insidious Chapter 2, The Conjuring, The Purge , Evil Dead, Texas Chainsaw 3D, Paranormal Activity 4 and The Possession — didn’t see a fellow horror release in the second spot.
Rounding out the top five are three holdovers: Universal’s A Dog’s Purpose with a 42.3 percent decline to $10.51 million, 20th Century Fox’s Hidden Figures with a 27.2 percent drop to $10.19 million, and Lionsgate’s awards frontrunner La La Land with a 39.7 percent fall to $7.37 million.
Speaking of awards contenders, Lion more than doubled its theater count to 1,405 screens, its highest nationwide screen count yet. In the process, it cracked the box office /top 10 for the first time. The film has now taken in $24.47 million total.
The Space Between Us debuted in ninth place, even though audience reaction was favorable. That was about in line with the already-low projections for the title, and with an estimated $30 million production budget, the film appears unlikely to even reach $10 million. However, STX’s share of the budget is only $3.7 million after co-financing and tax credits.
The top 10 films last weekend earned $75.66 million total. That’s 32.2 percent below the $111.64 earned by the top 10 films the previous weekend. It’s also 36.1 percent below the $118.35 million earned by the top 10 films on this weekend last year, when Kung Fu Panda 3 led with $41.28 million.
|This Week||Last Week||Movie||Weekend Gross||Cumulative Gross||Weeks|
|3||2||A Dog’s Purpose||$10.51M||$32.61M||2|
|4||3||Hidden Figures||$10.19M||$119.49M||7||5||5||La La Land||$7.37M||$118.23M||9|
|6||4||Resident Evil: The Final Chapter||$4.70M||$22.05M||2|
|8||6||xXx: The Return of Xander Cage||$3.86M||$40.20M||3|
|9||—||The Space Between Us||$3.78M||$3.78M||1|
Editor-in-Chief Mark Heckathorn is a journalist, movie buff and foodie. He oversees DC on Heels editorial operations as well as strategic planning and staff development. Reach him with story ideas or suggestions at dcoheditor (at) gmail (dot) com.