It’s a battle of former box office rivals this weekend, as M. Night Shyamalan’s latest thriller squares off against the newest installment in an aging genre franchise — one that first launched around the same time his career peaked in the early 2000s.
So, will Samara scare up enough audience dollars for Rings to overtake the reigning champion, or will Split slice-and-dice the competition once again? Here’s what the Feb. 3-5 box office chart could look like at the end of the week.
1. Split – $13 million
Shyamalan’s newest flick stunned upon its January debut, pulling in a massive $40 million over its first three days in theaters. It held steady last weekend, topping the chart for a second week with a sturdy $25.7 million. Split‘s third consecutive take, however, could see Rings — gunning for the same audience — take a larger-than-usual bite out of its potential grosses, as both films will be the most prominent genre pictures on the market come Friday. While Rings is expected to open with far less than its predecessors, it should pull enough attention away from Split to make that movie tumble to the $12-14 million range.
2. Rings – $11.5 million
Several obstacles stand in the way of Rings matching — or exceeding — the ticket sales of its forerunners as it opens at 3,000 theaters. For starters, Super Bowl Sunday typically keeps millions at home as they tune in for television’s biggest night. Additionally, the teenage audience that bolstered The Ring’s $129.2 million domestic gross (and the $35.1 million opening weekend posted by its 2005 sequel) have, naturally, grown up in the 12-year gap between Ring films, and it’s difficult to gauge whether Rings has successfully inserted the franchise’s legacy into the newer generation’s pop cultural wheelhouse.
Still, horror has proven itself to be on the rise in recent months, with smaller-budgeted titles like Don’t Breathe, The Bye Bye Man, and Lights Out earning back more than double what they cost to make. At $25 million, Rings is a tad more expensive than those films, but it should have no problem meeting that figure worldwide by the end of its run.
Look for Rings, which also opens in 39 international markets this weekend (approximately 70 percent of its overall footprint) to gross around $10-13 million between Friday and Sunday.
3. A Dog’s Purpose – $10 million
Controversy and rough reviews couldn’t keep the crowds away from A Dog’s Purpose last weekend, as the film fetched a solid $18.2 million across its opening frame. Family films have historically held on stronger than adult-oriented fare, and A Dog’s Purpose’s decent mid-week numbers (it scored $1.4 million on Tuesday) suggest strong word-of-mouth (it earned an A grade from polled moviegoers on CinemaScore) will see the picture shed approximately 30-40 percent of its debut audience.
4. Hidden Figures – $9 million
After taking top honors at last Sunday’s SAG Awards, Hidden Figures‘ box office success story carries on in the days ahead. The film is pacing for a small drop yet again, having maintained eight-figure weekend grosses since entering wide release on Jan. 6. With awards hype (including three Oscar nominations) and strong audience affection in its corner (A+ grade on CinemaScore), Hidden Figures could land another $8-10 million through Feb. 5.
5. La La Land – $8.9 million
Damien Chazelle’s buzzy modern musical, starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, enjoyed a significant post-Oscar nominations bump last weekend, taking in $12.2 million after expanding to 3,136 locations. With a North American gross hovering just below $109 million, the film is already the ninth highest-grossing musical of all time, and will likely nestle itself in the top three by the time it leaves theaters. With no signs of slowing down until after the Academy Awards ceremony later this month, La La Land will sing-and-dance its way to another $7-9 million three-day haul.
Outside the top five, STX will release the teen romance The Space Between Us to 2,812 theaters, aiming for younger, female patrons who previously fueled grosses for films like The Fault in our Stars and If I Stay. Made for $30 million, STX’s share was around $3.7 million following foreign licensing, tax credits, and co-financing, meaning an opening in the ballpark of $8-10 million is good news.
On the limited scene, Sony Pictures Classics will debut its Robert De Niro dramedy The Comedian in New York and Los Angeles this Friday, roughly two months after its world premiere at November’s AFI Fest. Negative reviews have followed the recent months, though De Niro’s involvement should bring mature audiences out of the woodwork.
And the Oscar-nominated documentary I Am Not Your Negro — an examination of race in America, through the Civil Rights movement to Black Lives Matter, told through the writings of author James Baldwin — also debuts in limited release.