Split Turns Into A Breakout Hit, Weinstein’s Gold flops
By John Hamann
January 29, 2017
I guess it is either really hot or really cold for M Night Shyamalan’s career. He’s had four hits followed by four big misses, followed by two hits. I think we have a trend.
It’s a downright crazy weekend at the box office (again), as openers include the sixth Resident Evil film, interestingly called “The Final Chapter” (yeah, my ass), A Dog’s Purpose, the grounded-in-controversy film about a dog that seems to reincarnate itself, and Gold, the latest from Mathew McConaughey, and distributed by The Weinstein Company. TWC hasn’t had a $100 million hit since Lee Daniels' The Butler, a great film that earned $116.6 million domestic and $176.6 million worldwide, all against a budget of $40 million. Since then, The Imitation Game made some money, Paddington probably made them a few bucks, but with so many players, not much would have made it to TWC. This weekend, Gold is TWC’s latest victim, but their last great hope – Lion, the film that received six Oscar nominations – might break the TWC trend.
And yes, it's also the post-Oscar nominee weekend, as we see how La La Land performs after picking up 14 nominations and Hidden Figures picks up three. Not including Split, which expanded by 161 venues, eight films expanded their theater counts by 269 screens or more, with La La Land expanding the furthest, from 1,865 last weekend to an ultra-wide 3,136 venues this weekend. Would the move pay off for the Lionsgate flick, or was the $94.5 million earned prior to the weekend the upper end of what La La Land could possibly earn?
Our number one film is not A Dog’s Purpose or La La Land. Instead we have a repeat winner in the form of Split, the first time an M. Night Shyamalan film has repeated at number one since Signs did in weekends four and five of its run in 2002. Signs went on to earn $228 million domestic and $409 million worldwide at a time when global box office wasn’t really a thing. Split took in $7.9 million on Friday night, and dropped an amazing-for-horror Friday-to-Friday drop of only 46%. Remember that Split earned $2 million over its Thursday preview, Universal has to be ecstatic that Split fell only 46% compared to a normal horror decline of 55-60%.
Over the rest of the weekend, Split continued to shine, earning a monster $26.3 million over its second frame, and turning the Shyamalan/Jason Blum production into a mega hit. The domestic gross has already hit $78 million after only 10 days of release, and the hold tells us that word-of-mouth must be sizzling out there for this horror/thriller hybrid. Split has already earned more than The Visit, the first film to break the streak of Night losers. That one earned $65.2 million over its entire run and only cost about $5 million less than Split, with The Visit coming in at $5 million before marketing, while Split cost $9 million prior to ad costs. I would estimate that Split at least doubled the advertising spend compared to The Village, but I also think it will out-earn it to the power of three.