Studio Weekend Estimates: ‘Split’ Bowls A Strike w/ $40.1M; ‘xXx: The Return of Xander Cage’ Caged In w/ $20.0M; ‘Rogue One’ Crosses $1B Globally

Universal’s Split exceeded even the most optimistic pre-release expectations with a first place debut of an estimated $40.19 million. The horror thriller surpassed its highest projections, as the most that anybody on the prediction site Box Office Theory projected for the film was $35 million. The suspenseful title starring James McAvoy as a kidnapper with multiple personality disorder was helped by both its intriguing marketing strategy which gained it increasing buzz over the past several months, as well as a lackluster opening from the other main film debuting this weekend. (More on that in a moment.)

As a result, Split starts 58.0 percent above director M. Night Shyamalan’s previous horror release, 2015’s The Visit with $25.42 million. It also starts notably above other recent successful horror titles last year, such as 2016’s Don’t Breathe with $26.41 million and Lights Out with $21.68 million. The best comparison would probably be last June’s The Conjuring 2 which opened with an almost-identical $40.4 million. That film went on to earn $102.4 million, though it’s possible Split could potentially even exceed that, since as a non-sequel it’s not likely to be as frontloaded as The Conjuring 2 was.

Split earned an average B+ CinemaScore, from an audience that was 52 percent under age 25 and also 52 percent female — a very even gender split for the traditionally male-dominated horror genre.

Split started with an estimated $14.62 million on Friday (including $2.0 million in Thursday night previews), improved an estimated 12.8 percent to $16.50 million on Saturday, and is projected to decline 45.0 percent on Sunday to $9.07 million. This places its opening weekend to Friday ratio at an estimated 2.74 to 1 — higher than for many films in the front-loaded horror genre, indicating positive word of mouth and potential for a better hold going forward than might have been previously expected.

Paramount’s xXx: The Return of Xander Cage took second place with an estimated $20.0 million opening. The action sequel starring Vin Diesel starts 55.0 percent behind the $44.50 million opening of the original xXx in 2002. The comparison suffers even more when adjusting for inflation: xXx started with approximately $65.18 million in today’s dollars, meaning the sequel starts 69.3 percent lower in terms of tickets sold. The film at least starts 84.9 percent higher than Diesel’s previous lead role in an action film, 2015’s financially-disappointing The Last Witch Hunter with its $10.81 million opening.

Following a year where most sequels performed worse than their predecessors (at least domestically), an unusual downturn considering the usually-reliable bankability of sequels, January isn’t getting 2017 on the best footing for that metric either, with both The Return of Xander Cage and the low start of Underworld: Blood Wars. However, Diesel does seem significantly more likely to strike box office gold in a few months with his fellow action sequel The Fate of the Furious.

Xander Cage earned an average A- CinemaScore from an audience that was 53 percent male and 62 percent over age 25. That last figure might seem high for a PG-13 “blow ’em up” style action movie, but the original film from 14 years ago is largely remembered by those currently over age 25, not to mention that lead star Diesel himself is 49 years old.

xXx started with an estimated $7.15 million on Friday (including $1.2 million in Thursday night previews), improved an estimated 16.0 percent on Saturday to $8.30 million million, and is projected to fall 45.1 percent on Sunday to $4.55 million. This places its opening weekend to Friday ratio at an estimated 2.79 to 1.

After two weekends on top, Fox’s Hidden Figures fell a mild 22.1 percent to an estimated $16.25 million and third place. The film has now earned $84.23 million to date, and seems a lock to pass $100 million total — a feat which many would not have expected pre-release.

Disney’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story takes sixth place with an estimated $7.03 million, but the real story for the film was overseas as it crossed the $1 billion mark globally. More on that in the Overseas Update section below.

Weinstein Company’s The Founder opened with an estimated $3.75 million in ninth place, about in line with expectations. The biopic starred Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc, who turned McDonald’s from a single-location operation into a global franchise. The film opened in 1,115 theaters, only about one-third of the theater count Split or xXx, plus it was intended to be more of an awards contender than a box office success — so its ninth place debut shouldn’t be considered too much of a disappointment, all things considered. The movie starts about 14.7 percent behind the highest-grossing weekend for Keaton’s previous film, 2015’s fellow real-life story Spotlight with $4.40 million.

The Founder started with an estimated $1.0 million on Friday, improved an estimated 57.3 percent on Saturday to $1.57 million, and is projected to decline 25.0 percent on Sunday to $1.18 million. This places its opening weekend to Friday ratio at 3.73 to 1 — an impressive number, to be sure, but in this case probably not as indicative of a strong hold in future weeks.

High Top Releasing’s new faith-based film The Resurrection of Gavin Stone opened to an estimated $1.35 million. Although the studio tried a bare-bones marketing and release strategy aimed at religious moviegoers which they claimed would be considered successful if the film debuted to $3 million, they only reached about half that stated goal.

Limited Releases:

Weinstein Company’s Lion was the weekend’s top-grossing film playing in less than 1,000 theaters, with an estimated $1.81 million. A24’s 20th Century Women expanded from 29 to 650 theaters and took in an estimated $1.40 million.

Overseas Update:

Despite what may have been a lackluster debut domestically, xXx: The Return of Xander Cage was on fire overseas with an estimated $50.5 million overseas opening weekend. It opened in 53 markets, where it took first place in 32 of them. Notable grosses included $7.3 million in India, $5.5 million in Russia, and $3.1 million in France.

Disney’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story crossed the $1 billion threshold worldwide with an estimated $9.0 million overseas weekend, down 58.9 percent, in 45 markets. Although not enough to crack this weekend’s top five by overseas gross, its massive earnings over the past month since its debut lifted its overseas total to $499.1 million to date. Combined with $512.20 million domestically and counting, the film has now earned $1.011 billion in total.

Impressively, of the four 2016 releases to reach $1 billion worldwide, Disney produced all four. Rogue One is currently in fourth place on that metric, behind Captain America: Civil War with $1.153 billion, Finding Dory with $1.027 billion, and Zootopia with $1.023 billion. Can Rogue eventually claim the top spot to become the highest-grossing 2016 film worldwide? It’s a lock to at least make second place, as it’s only a bit behind Dory and Zootopia at the moment, but Civil War will be harder to surpass. At this rate, though, it looks like Rogue One probably will beat it in the end, though not by much.

Note: an earlier version of this article predicted that ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ is likely to surpass ‘Captain America: Civil War’ at the global box office. After some commenters pointed out that this might be unlikely, we have examined the numbers more closely and are reversing that prediction, projecting that ‘Civil War’ will beat ‘Rogue One’ for the global cumulative box office.

Studio Weekend Estimates for Friday, January 20 – Sunday, January 22, 2017:

WIDE (1000+)

# TITLE WEEKEND LOCATIONS AVG. TOTAL WKS. DIST.
1 Split $40,190,000 3,038 $13,229 $40,190,000 1 Universal
2 xXx: The Return of Xander Cage $20,000,000 3,651 $5,478 $20,000,000 1 Paramount
3 Hidden Figures $16,250,000 -22% 3,416 130 $4,757 $84,238,751 5 Fox
4 Sing (2016) $9,040,000 -37% 3,193 -500 $2,831 $249,365,195 5 Universal
5 La La Land $8,350,000 -43% 1,865 17 $4,477 $89,680,497 7 Lionsgate / Summit
6 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story $7,036,000 -48% 2,603 -559 $2,703 $512,201,563 6 Disney
7 Monster Trucks $7,000,000 -36% 3,119 0 $2,244 $22,611,554 2 Paramount
8 Patriots Day $6,000,000 -48% 3,120 0 $1,923 $23,639,945 5 CBS Films / Lionsgate
9 The Founder $3,758,000 1,115 $3,370 $3,759,266 1 Weinstein Company
10 Sleepless $3,706,444 -56% 1,803 0 $2,056 $15,193,348 2 Open Road
11 The Bye Bye Man $3,560,000 -74% 2,220 0 $1,604 $20,119,630 2 STX Entertainment
12 Moana $2,510,000 -42% 1,296 -551 $1,937 $236,784,702 9 Disney
13 Passengers $2,300,000 -57% 1,556 -891 $1,478 $94,533,188 5 Sony / Columbia
14 Live By Night $1,805,000 -65% 2,822 0 $640 $9,472,349 5 Warner Bros.
15 Underworld: Blood Wars $1,650,000 -73% 1,466 -1604 $1,126 $28,560,959 3 Sony / Screen Gems
16 Why Him? $1,170,000 -67% 1,034 -943 $1,132 $58,035,458 5 Fox
17 Silence $1,150,000 -42% 1,580 833 $728 $5,158,701 5 Paramount

LIMITED (100 — 999)

# TITLE WEEKEND LOCATIONS AVG. TOTAL WKS. DIST.
1 Lion $1,814,000 -21% 575 0 $3,155 $16,396,530 9 Weinstein Company
2 20th Century Women $1,400,750 343% 650 621 $2,155 $2,327,391 4 A24
3 The Resurrection of Gavin Stone $1,356,900 887 $1,530 $1,356,900 1 BH Tilt
4 Fences $1,250,000 -55% 693 -649 $1,804 $48,749,684 6 Paramount
5 Manchester By the Sea $995,475 -48% 543 -183 $1,833 $38,943,971 10 Roadside / Amazon
6 Moonlight (2016) $633,744 -42% 489 -93 $1,296 $15,826,125 14 A24
7 Jackie $365,000 -51% 239 -114 $1,527 $11,267,840 8 Fox Searchlight
8 Trolls $340,000 -18% 243 -19 $1,399 $152,381,839 12 Fox / DreamWorks Animation
9 Assassin’s Creed $320,000 -77% 323 -645 $991 $53,802,956 5 Fox
10 Arrival $315,000 -43% 180 -67 $1,750 $95,664,632 11 Paramount
11 Doctor Strange $145,000 -30% 132 -30 $1,098 $231,490,380 12 Disney
12 Elle (2016) $119,533 -56% 143 -66 $836 $1,595,769 11 Sony Pictures Classics
13 Office Christmas Party $85,000 -26% 139 -2 $612 $54,733,213 7 Paramount / DreamWorks
14 Hacksaw Ridge $77,000 -42% 125 -47 $616 $65,488,438 12 Lionsgate
15 Allied $55,000 -44% 120 -54 $458 $40,070,450 9 Paramount

PLATFORM (1 — 99)

# TITLE WEEKEND LOCATIONS AVG. TOTAL WKS. DIST.
1 Paterson $123,560 24% 38 24 $3,252 $123,560 4 Bleecker Street
2 Julieta $93,813 -23% 40 11 $2,345 $675,449 5 Sony Pictures Classics
3 The Eagle Huntress $68,724 -28% 74 -8 $929 $2,744,257 12 Sony Pictures Classics
4 Neruda $47,330 9% 15 0 $3,155 $343,638 6 The Orchard
5 Nocturnal Animals $33,405 -53% 43 -11 $777 $10,637,409 10 Focus
6 Toni Erdmann $27,256 -27% 6 1 $4,543 $262,333 5 Sony Pictures Classics
7 The Red Turtle $21,811 3 $7,270 $21,811 1 Sony Pictures Classics
8 A Monster Calls $19,080 -96% 42 -1471 $454 $3,729,879 5 Focus
9 Loving $14,420 -53% 33 -8 $437 $7,694,096 12 Focus
10 Saving Banksy $14,250 982% 5 4 $2,850 $16,375 2 Parade Deck Films
11 Worlds Apart $12,400 -24% 2 1 $6,200 $37,407 2 Cinema Libre Studio
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