The first big release of 2019 is here just in time for a holiday weekend, but is going down as a disappointment. Still, we do have one surprise in the top ten and Aquaman crosses the $300 million mark.
by Tim Briody
January 20, 2019
On this weekend two years ago, Split came out of relatively nowhere to open to $40 million. Another stop on the M. Night Shyamalan comeback tour, after a series of twists for the sake of twists misfires in the mid 2000s, Split was buoyed by a tour de force performance by James McAvoy (that got him some minor awards attention, which is absurd for a January release) and cited as a return to form for Shyamalan. Earning $138.1 million, Split's big twist was that it was a sequel to 2000's Unbreakable, featuring an uncredited Bruce Willis cameo at the end as well as a reference to Samuel L. Jackson's character in the same film. The success of Split led Shyamalan to announce a third film in the trilogy to conclude the story and bring back the three primary characters. Thus, this weekend, we have Glass.
A few weeks ago Glass seemed prime to challenge (if ultimately fall several million short) American Sniper as the biggest January opening weekend ever, but then the reviews started coming in, and well, they were not good. Of anyone else in Hollywood, I would make the argument that Shyamalan is the director most prone to reviews actually affecting the box office of his movies. People are still scarred from things like Lady in the Water and The Happening, so when Glass came in at 36% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, a lot of red flags went off with audiences.
Thus, Glass does win the weekend but with $40.5 million, a mere $500,000 increase from Split's weekend. That's certainly a disappointing opening for Universal. While Shyamalan made the film fairly cheaply ($20 million, Split only cost $9 million) so it's already in the black, you have to think that a fair amount of money was left on the table because of the poor reviews.
Split fell just 36% in its second weekend, and that's something we'll be looking at for sure. I wouldn't be surprised if Glass dipped 50% or more next weekend, meaning it won't come close to matching the $138.1 million total of Split.
Last weekend's surprise winner The Upside has a solid second weekend hold, down just 23% to $15.6 million and has $43.9 million in two weekends (unexpectedly taking the title of 2019's #1 film for a day or two!). Critics were meh on it but audiences have been eating it up (it got an A CinemaScore) and the low decline has it humming along.
Good job nerds, a surprise entry in third place is Dragon Ball Super: Broly, an English dubbed version of a Japanese film based on the popular anime. In just 467 theaters, it earned an impressive $10.6 million (for a per screen average of OVER NINE THOUSAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAND). It opened on Wednesday and actually was the number one movie on that day with $7 million, giving it $21 million in five days of release. It's got an extremely short shelf life in theaters, but this is a remarkable performance.
Aquaman slides to fourth place with $10.3 million but crosses $300 million in the process as after five weekends it's got $304.3 million. If you had predicted this before Christmas you probably would have been laughed at.
Having outlasted all the Christmas releases except Aquaman despite opening a week earlier, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse continues to hold well, dipping just 20% to $7.2 million and giving it $158.2 million in six weekends. We get Oscar nominations this week, and a Best Animated Feature nomination (and probable win) would continue to push it towards the $200 million mark, though currently it's headed to about $180 million.
A Dog's Way Home slides 37% in its second weekend to $7.1 million and $21.2 million to date. That's fine. It cost Sony $18 million to make, so around $40 million would be an acceptable outcome here.
Escape Room earns $5.2 million (down 41%) and has $40.7 million in three weekends. Cheap horror is almost always a winner and this one is no exception.
Mary Poppins Returns adds $5.2 million and has $158.7 million after five weekends. Hard to shake the feeling that money was left on the table here somehow. I am pretty sure Disney had this one penciled in for $200 million at minimum.
Bumblebee dips to ninth place with $4.6 million and $115.9 million in five weekends. Weirdly, this might be a movie we'll all forget happened in a few years, when someone decides to reboot the Transformers franchise.
On the Basis of Sex wraps up the top ten this weekend with $3.9 million and $16.8 million after two weekends in wide release. The Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic perhaps could see a small bump next week if documentary RBG earns an expected Oscar nomination, but this is probably its last weekend in the top ten.
Your top 12 films earned $116.5 million this weekend, just ahead of last year's $110.9 million when Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle led once again with $19.5 million and 12 Strong and Den of Thieves both opened with $15 million.
Next weekend appears to be another quiet one (was everyone expecting Glass to blow up huge?) with The Kid Who Would Be King and Serenity, the latter starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway.