To paraphrase Shakespeare, beware the movies of February.
The year’s shortest month can’t be short enough for most studios. Whenever a studio exec screens a movie and says, “How did this thing get made?”, it’s followed almost immediately by, “Well, whatever. We’ll just sneak it out in February.” As such, even smaller movies that attract an audience have a chance to hang around at the top of the box office for a long time.
Case in point: Split.
For the third week in a row, M. Night Shyamalan’s multi-personality thriller won the weekend’s box office tourney. Sure, the estimated $14.6 million it earned wasn’t exactly enough to blow the socks off many observers, but it was enough to beat the competition like a Tom Brady fastball. Split has earned $98.7 million during its run, putting it in position to become the year’s first $100 million blockbuster. And given that Universal reportedly spent just $9 million making the thing, its makers probably like February just fine.
Rings, the second sequel to the 2002 horror flick The Ring, debuted in second place with a rather terrifying $13 million. Still, it did far better than any of the weekend’s other newcomers: The Space Between Us woefully underperformed, gathering only $3.8 million to fill all that space. And Robert de Niro’s The Comedian was mercilessly heckled, earning just $1.1 million.
A Dog’s Purpose weathered its rather ruff opening to grab another $10.8 million and a third-place medal, topping a couple of Oscar hopefuls in the Top Five. Hidden Figures finished fourth with $10.1 million, while La La Land twirled to $7.5 million.