Friday Box Office: ‘Split’ Dashes Out in Front of ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’

     January 21, 2017

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From my perspective, this is the fist interesting weekend of 2017 in terms of box office. The last two weeks were still struggling to get beyond late 2016 openers, most prominent amongst them being the buoyant, incandescent Hidden Figures. This weekend finds two big releases of note on the national stage that could bring in some solid returns: M. Night Shyamalan‘s Split and D.J. Caruso‘s xXx: Return of Xander Cage.

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Image via Paramount

They are similar releases, up to a point, with the Shyamalan brand still struggling to return to its early-aughts glory and the xXx franchise battling against a very real feeling of total irrelevance, even for an action series. It’s both surprising and slight encouraging then that the numbers from THR suggest that Split will be taking the first place spot this weekend, having brought in $14.6 million on Friday. This puts the James McAvoy-starring thriller far ahead of its main competition, as the xXx sequel took in a modest $7 million on Friday.

Though Shyamalan has made some of the most memorable cinematic catastrophes of the last decade or so, including Lady in the Water and The Last Airbender, the fact that he made Split, like The Visit, with his own funds to keep creative control is pretty admirable. And the fact that The Visit and Split are his best films to see release since Signs, it suggests that many of his problems in the past could at least partially be blamed on studio and producer interference.

Regardless, Split looks to have a tight grasp on this weekend’s numbers right now, above both xXx and other openers and leftovers. The Founder, The Weinstein Company’s beleaguered take on the birth of the McDonalds empire, is looking at $3 million or so for the whole weekend, while another opener, The Resurrection of Gavin Stone, is looking at no more than $1 million. Elsewhere, Hidden Figures looks to still be in the top 5 of the week with an estimated $15 million haul for the weekend and La La Land is heading toward an $8 million weekend. Perhaps we’re not totally over 2016 quite yet.

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