NEW YORK (AP) — M. Night Shyamalan’s psychological thriller “Split” blew away box-office expectations, earning $40.2 million in ticket sales over inauguration weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.
Though many were focused on Friday’s presidential inauguration and Saturday’s nationwide women’s marches, “Split” doubled forecasts to easily lead all films. The Universal Pictures release again brings together Shyamalan, director of “The Sixth Sense,” with the low-budget horror experts of Blumhouse Productions.
The PG-13-rated “Split,” starring James McAvoy as a man with split personalities, cost less than $10 million to make.
“This is an unusual weekend in our society and a lot of things have been going on that would otherwise divert our attention,” said Nick Carpou, head of distribution for Universal. “A film like this based on the elements that it brings and the audience that it attracts, I think can take some advantage of that either as a relief to current events or perhaps as an adjunct to them.”
It’s the second collaboration between producer Jason Blum and Shyamalan, whose fluctuating career has recently found a lucrative home at Blumhouse. They previously combined for 2015’s breakout horror hit “The Visit.”
The Vin Diesel action sequel “xXx: The Return of Xander Cage” opened in second place, with $20 million. It’s the third film in the trilogy and first installment in 12 years. Though a modest start for a film designed to recharge a dormant franchise, it is faring better overseas. It took in $50.5 million internationally over the weekend.
Last weekend’s top film, the stirring mathematician drama “Hidden Figures,” held on well, sliding to third place with an estimated $16.3 million.
Despite the weekend’s political events, the North American box office was up 29.2 percent from the same weekend last year, according to comScore.
“You would think that those events would suck the air out of the room, but that didn’t happen,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore. “The movie theater experience with the right content is irresistible no matter what is going on in the outside world, and in fact may even benefit from so much going on in the outside world. To have your wits scared out you is one of the greatest escapes.”
A pair of other new releases had more difficulty rounding up audiences. The Weinstein Co.’s “The Founder,” a biopic about Ray Kroc of McDonald’s starring Michael Keaton, launched in 1,100 theaters but gathered only $3.8 million. It will be hoping for an Oscar nomination on Tuesday to help it stand out of the adult-skewing releases.
Oscar favorite “La La Land” is still going strong with $8.4 million in its seventh week.
Bombing altogether was the Christian drama “The Resurrection of Gavin Stone,” which took in $1.4 million from 1,000 theaters.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers also are included. Final four-day domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. “Split,” $40.2 million ($5.8 million international).
2. “xXx: The Return of Xander Cage,” $20 million ($50.5 million international).
3. “Hidden Figures,” $16.3 million ($731,000 international).
4. “Sing,” $9 million ($8.3 million international).
5. “La La Land,” $8.4 million ($16.6 million international).
6. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” $7 million ($9 million international).
7. “Monster Trucks,” $7 million ($2.4 million international).
8. “Patriots Day,” $6 million.
9. “The Founder,” $3.8 million.
10. “Sleepless,” $3.7 million.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore:
1. “xXx: The Return of Xander Cage,” $50.5 million.
2. “La La Land,” $16.6 million.
3. “Passengers,” $13.4 million.
4. “Moana,” $12.9 million.
5. “The King,” $10.5 million.
6. “Arrival,” $9.8 million.
7. “Assassin’s Creed,” $9.2 million.
8. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” $9 million.
9. “Sing,” $8.3 million.
10. “Confidential Assignment,” $6.5 million.
Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP .
HOUSTON (AP) — Former President George H.W. Bush’s health continues to improve and his wife, who is also recovering from illness, has chosen to remain hospitalized one more night to be “closer to her husband,” a family spokesman said Sunday.
The 92-year-old former president and his wife Barbara remained at Houston Methodist Hospital. He has been receiving treatment for breathing difficulties from pneumonia while she is recovering from bronchitis.
The 41st president’s vital signs are normal and doctors hope he can be moved out of intensive care in the next day or two, said Bush family spokesman Jim McGrath.
Bush has been in the Houston hospital now for a week. Doctors on Wednesday inserted a breathing tube, and a ventilator was employed to assist his breathing. The tube was removed Friday.
Barbara Bush, 91, entered the hospital Wednesday after feeling run down and coughing for the past few weeks. Doctors determined she had bronchitis. Her health has improved since receiving treatment.
“Mrs. Bush was given the option of being discharged today, but has elected to remain at Houston Methodist Hospital one more evening to continue her recovery and to be closer to her husband,” McGrath said.
McGrath added the Bushes wanted to make sure “they thank their well-wishers for their kindness, and especially their prayers.”
In a tweet on Saturday, McGrath said the couple’s spirits were up, they were very interested “in inauguration doings” and were “very happy” that President Donald Trump went to see the men and women of the CIA. On Saturday, Trump traveled to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, and spoke to a group of about 400 people in attendance. Bush served as CIA director from 1976 to 1977.
The couple’s 72-year marriage is the longest of any presidential couple in American history.
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita police are searching for a suspect after an attempted robbery leaves one employee injured.
Officers say it happened in the 2400 block of North Broadway, at 11:45 p.m. Saturday.
They say the suspect approached the food truck and, armed with a handgun, demanded money.
While one employee was opening the register, another employee slammed the door into the suspect.
The suspect fired two shots, hitting one of the employees.
The victim was taken to the hospital, treated, and released.
If you have any additional information, call WPD detectives (268-4407) or Crimestoppers (267-2111)
WASHINGTON (WCMH) — A proposed House Resolution would set the stage for the United States to remove itself from the United Nations.
The proposed “American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2017” is sponsored by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL). It was introduced in the House on Jan. 3 and referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, according to the Congress website.
The bill proposes that the United States terminate its membership in the UN, that the UN removes its headquarters from the US, and that the US stops participating in the World Health Organization. Read the full bill here.
Should it pass, the act would take effect two years after it is signed.
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Police say a man whose body was found in an east Topeka parking lot was run over by a tractor-trailer truck.
The man was identified Sunday as 30-year-old Sean McLaughlin.
Police say McLauglin was lying under a trailer parked in the Deer Creek Shopping Center early Saturday and was hit when the trailer left the parking lot.
It is unclear why McLaughlin was under the truck.
Police say the driver and trucking company have been questioned. No foul play is suspected.