‘Split’ remains dominant at box office, besting ‘A Dog’s Purpose,’ ‘Resident Evil’

Libby Hill

LOS ANGELES — It’s a new day for director M. Night Shyamalan, as psychological thriller “Split” dominated at the box office with an estimated $26.3 million weekend in its second week of release.

The film, starring James McAvoy as an individual with multiple personalities, scored just a 34 percent drop from its $40 million opening weekend, despite traditionally steep second-weekend earnings drop-offs for horror films. The big second weekend brings the Universal Pictures film to a 10-day total of nearly $78 million.

Despite controversy dogging its release, Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment’s “A Dog’s Purpose” settled for second in its opening weekend, earning an estimated $18.4 million in returns.

Telling the tale of a dog — voiced by Josh Gad — with multiple lifetimes, in lieu of multiple personalities, the family-friendly film faced resistance when footage featuring a German shepherd struggling to avoid a water-based stunt went viral, sparking public outcry and a PETA protest.

Sony and Screen Gem’s “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter,” the sixth installment of the video-game-inspired series starring Milla Jovovich, brought in $13.85 million in its opening weekend, good enough for fourth place at the domestic box office.

Despite coming in at No. 4 domestically, overseas is where the film truly shines, having made over $64 million internationally to date.

“International has always been the driving force of this franchise and it continues to be so in this case,” said Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution at Sony Pictures Entertainment. “We didn’t do quite as much as we did with our opening of the last ‘Resident Evil’ here; we’re exceeding our openings internationally.

“This billion-dollar franchise, which it will be as of Monday, has been an excellent ride. And, quite frankly, we saved the best for last,” said Bruer.

Rounding out the weekend’s top 5 are two Academy Award best picture hopefuls.

“Hidden Figures,” the true story of three female African-American mathematicians working for NASA during the 1960s, which earned three Oscar nominations last week, landed in third place, bringing in $14 million in its sixth weekend of release.

The 20th Century Fox film, starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae, has earned $104 million since its Christmas premiere.

The best picture front-runner, Lionsgate’s “La La Land,” also saw a box-office boost from its record-tying 14 Oscar nominations, bringing in $12 million for the weekend and breaking the $100 million mark both domestically and abroad over the weekend, bringing its global cumulative total to over $223 million.

Paramount’s “xXx: The Return of Xander Cage,” starring Vin Diesel, continues to underperform at the box office, with a sharp 59 percent drop from its first weekend earnings, bringing in just $8.25 million in its second weekend of release, landing in sixth for the weekend.

Despite no animated feature Oscar nomination, Universal’s musical “Sing” continues to sing a happy tune, taking in $6.2 million in its sixth weekend of release, good enough for seventh place.

Disney’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” earned $5.124 million for eighth place over the weekend, after breaking the $1 billion global benchmark last week.

Paramount’s “Monster Trucks” brought in $4.1 million in its third weekend, bringing its total to $28.13 million through Sunday, a devastating number for an animated feature that cost $125 million to make.

The Weinstein Co.’s “Gold,” starring Matthew McConaughey in a tale inspired by a 1993 Indonesian mining scandal, rounds out the weekend’s top 10, taking in $3.47 million in its first weekend of release.