M. Night Shyamalan is officially back on top of the box office.
The Signs and The Sixth Sense filmmaker scored another win over the weekend with Split, his new film that casts X-Men franchise actor James McAvoy as a kidnapper with multiple personalities. Not only did the film win the weekend by a wide margin, but it also went a long way toward proving that the success of Shyamalan’s 2015 low-budget thriller The Visit was anything but a fluke, and that the director — who was widely written off after a string of big-budget flops — still has a knack for making compelling (and scary) movies.
Following Split on the box-office chart was Vin Diesel’s franchise kick-starter xXx: Return of Xander Cage, the third film in the series and the first to feature Diesel since 2002’s xXx.
Although Xander Cage only earned around $20 million in U.S. theaters — not too far off pundits’ expectations — the film added more than $50 million overseas, giving it an impressive worldwide gross of $70.5 million after only one weekend in theaters. It made every effort to appeal to international audiences with a cast that includes Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone, Chinese-born pop star and model Kris Wu, and various action film stars from around the world (including Ong-bak star Tony Jaa and Ip Man star Donnie Yen), and it looks like the studio’s efforts paid off. Xander Cage doesn’t open in China until February, when it’s likely to enjoy another big boost in ticket sales.
|#||Title||Weekend||U.S. Total||Worldwide Total|
|2.||xXx: Return of Xander Cage||$20M||$20M||$70.5M|
|5.||La La Land||$8.3M||$89.6M||$173.3M|
|6.||Rogue One: A Star Wars Story||$7M||$512.2M||$1,011.3M|
The only other new release to find its way into the weekend’s top ten films was The Founder, a biopic that casts Michael Keaton as McDonald’s fast-food chain originator Ray Kroc. The film had a modest debut in just over 1,100 theaters, averaging $3,370 per location — which isn’t too bad at all. It’s an early favorite for some Academy Award nominations thanks to a brief, limited run in December that qualified it for this year’s awards, but its real run is just beginning at this point.
Also noteworthy is the continued success of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which passed the $1 billion mark worldwide over the weekend. The film became 2016’s biggest domestic release last week, and it’s still moving up the worldwide rankings with its strong run. The Star Wars stand-alone film currently sits in fourth place among the year’s biggest worldwide releases, just $12 million short of third-place film Zootopia.
This upcoming week’s releases include the latest installment of the Resident Evil series, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, Matthew McConaughey’s modern-prospector drama Gold, and the drama A Dog’s Purpose, which could be negatively affected by some recent, leaked video of one of the film’s canine actors allegedly being mistreated. It wouldn’t be too much of a surprise to see Split repeat its run as the box-office leader, given the competition (or lack thereof), so we could see some familiar films at the top of next week’s column.