Split took the lead again and beat all challengers to take the top for the third time in a row, earning $14.6 million in a slow Super Bowl weekend. M. Night Shyamalan’s visceral fright train, which transitions from unsettling psychological thriller to full on survival horror, has now reached a domestic gross close to $100 million. This makes it his best performing sub $10 million budget film out of five to date and already marks the highest profit ratio for any of his movies. Split kept its momentum up overseas as well where it earned $14.6 million. New opening in Taiwan was good for $1.5 million and first place while it held the number one spot in Germany, besting last week’s take there by five percent and reaching a $6.1 million local cume. In Australia it reached $5.5 million, and in the UK earnings moved up to $10.4 million. Its global total is now $142.7 million. 24 other territories including France, Russia, Japan and Brazil are yet to come.
Paramount’s Rings was one of several newcomers that didn’t manage to find space for themselves at the top of the chart. Spaniard F. Javier Gutierrez took the helm and netted $13 million in his Hollywood debut weekend. Rings, the third American incarnation of this Japanese born horror phenomenon, stars Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, Aimee Teergarden, Johnny Galecki and Vincent D’Onofrio. Julia (Lutz) goes to look for her boyfriend Holt (Alex Roe) in his college town after she hasn’t heard from him in weeks. There she discovers that the infamous tape that kills its viewers after seven days has been circulating in the dorms and, along with a classmate named Skye (Teergarden), they set off to save their and their fellow students lives. Rings fared better in its international opening, especially in Latin America. It came first in Brazil with $2.7 million, the second biggest horror opening in the country’s history. In Mexico it launched with $2.2 million again in second, and had locally significant performances in Colombia ($654K) Panama ($573K) and Peru ($480K). France was good for $1.4 million, while its Russian opening netted $1.9 million.
STX’s The Space Between Us made its North American debut as well but crashed with a dismal $3.8 million from 2,812 theatres. Space stars Asa Butterfield as a boy who was born en route to Mars. An unexpected stowaway on a pioneering scientific expedition, he is the first human ever born in space. NASA, wanting to avoid the embarrassment of having unknowingly chosen a pregnant astronaut for the mission, orders the crew to keep his life a secret. As a teenager he starts to become curious about earth and after meeting a girl (Britt Robertson) online he pressures his parents and the mission leader to take him on board the next shuttle back. There he escapes confinement, finds his internet crush, and sets about learning about love and life on his ancestral home planet. Audiences gave the film an A- Cinemascore while critics reviews were almost universally scathing. With a $30 million budget and nearly as much in P&A, turning a profit will be a real moon shot for this picture.
On the overseas charts La La Land had the best performance of any Hollywood film. Lionsgate’s multiple Golden Globe winner and Oscar nominee took $20 million from 72 territories this frame. It took first in its Mexican launch with $2.2 million, and made significant headway in several holdover markets. It reached $8.1 million in France, $4.1 million in Italy and $7.8 million in Germany, where it gained 3% over last frame. In the UK, its leading international market, it reached $30.3 million. A $7.4 million North American frame brings its global cume to $268.3 million. That puts it within range of 2002’s Golden Globe and Oscar winner Chicago’s $306 million lifetime gross, the current record for a musical (though if we look at the inflation adjusted figures there are several films ahead of it including The Sound of Music and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves).
While La La Land held the banner for the American film industry abroad, the top three global results actually went to Chinese pictures. Kung Fu Yoga, starring Jackie Chan, took first with $51.4 million. Journey to the West: Demons Strike Back followed it with $35.3 million, while Duckweed, a father-son bonding drama from directors Han Han and Zhang Honngwei, came next with $29.5 million.
Next weekend we’ll track the release of the Lego Batman Movie, sequel Fifty Shades Darker, and John Wick: Chapter 2.