‘Split’ Creeps to Strong $2 Million at Thursday Box Office

The new M. Night Shyamalan thriller goes head-to-head this weekend with Vin Diesel’s “xXx: The Return of Xander Cage”

Last Updated: January 20, 2017 @ 10:15 AM

M. Night Shyamalan’s long-awaited return to form may have finally come, if early reception to his new film,”Split,” is any indication. The psychotic thriller starring James McAvoy debuted to a strong $2 million in Thursday night previews at 2,295 locations.

The Blumhouse production is projected to have an opening weekend of around $20 million against a budget of $10 million, though Universal is more conservative with a projection in the high-teens.

The Thursday yield blows by that of Shyamalan’s last film, “The Visit,” which raked in $1 million in previews when it was released in September 2015, and went on to gross $25 million in its opening weekend.  Since premiering at Fantastic Fest last September, “Split” has received positive reviews with a 77 percent “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.



Competing against “Split” this weekend is Paramount’s “xXx: The Return of Xander Cage,” which opened to $1.2 million in previews.  The threequel sees Vin Diesel return to the action franchise he helped launch in 2002 as extreme-sports-athlete-turned-secret-agent Xander Cage. The film also stars Donnie Yen, Ruby Rose, Nina Dobrev, Toni Collette and Samuel L. Jackson. D. J. Caruso (“Disturbia”) directed.

“xXx” opened to 2,536 locations in previews and will expand to 3,600 locations (including IMAX and 3D) on Friday. Paramount is predicting an opening weekend of $18 million to $20 million, though some trackers have it as high as $25 million. By comparison, the 2005 Diesel-less “xXx: State of the Union” grossed just $12.7 million domestically in its opening weekend. But the third installment’s yield might be hampered by its 36 percent RT rating, which comes from reviews that feature some particularly scathing pull quotes.



Also out this week is the Weinstein Company’s biopic “The Founder,” which stars Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc, the man who turned McDonald’s from a small California burger joint into a national franchise. Opening in 1,100 locations, a survey of tracking suggests the film will open higher than $3 million, which TheWrap has learned would be satisfactory to TWC.

The film also stars Nick Offerman, John Caroll Lynch, B.J. Novak, Patrick Wilson and Laura Dern. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a score of 80 percent.

Fox’s “Hidden Figures” is expected to be a strong holdover in its third weekend at the box office as it is expected to gross another $18 million this weekend. Depending on how “xXx” performs, the biopic could finish in second place behind “Split.” It opened to $22.8 million two weeks ago and grossed a stellar $26 million its second weekend (four-day estimate, counting the MLK Day holiday).