After last week’s welcomed over-performance by The Upside, the industry is gearing up for a solid Martin Luther King Weekend at the box office as Universal readies M. Night Shyamalan’s anticipated Glass. The trilogy-capper — finishing off a story began by 2000’s Unbreakable and 2017’s Split — is trending to earn one of the biggest MLK weekend debuts ever.
Expectations for the film have been volatile in recent days, however, with critics chiming in at a more unfavorable rate than hoped for. The film’s 39 percent Rotten Tomatoes score is notably below the 76 percent earned by Split, which exceeded all expectations with its $40 million opening weekend two years ago this month.
Prior to reviews, though, Glass tracking had been through the roof for the genre with interest and intent scores comparable to films like last October’s Halloween reboot, while tracking far ahead of other titles like The Nun, A Quiet Place, Get Out, and Split itself. In our Trailer Impact surveys, the film’s total interest registered at 80 percent entering this week, possibly suggesting a strong contingent of fans undeterred by the film’s divisive reviews. A higher portion of Glass‘s interested moviegoers are among audiences aged 25 and up, though, who may be more mindful of reviews on this film in particular than the more teen-driven audiences of similar genre pics.
Still, the challenge is in assessing how far beyond Shyamalan’s core fan base this sequel will reach out to. Generally strong word of mouth and goodwill from Split helps, as will the presence of four co-stars (James McAvoy, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, and Sarah Paulson). As the sole opener on a holiday weekend, competition will be minimal as well. If critics’ views are reflected in audience scores Thursday night and Friday, though, Glass could be more front-loaded than once hoped. The other potential outcome is that the film could be relatively review-proof over the first few days, similar to Venom‘s excellent performance three months ago.
For perspective, the all-time MLK box office champ is American Sniper, which bowed to $89.3 million / $107.2 million over the three-day / four-day frame when it expanded into wide release over the holiday weekend in 2015. Glass probably won’t be reaching that high, but second-best Ride Along‘s $41.5 million / $48.6 million split is certainly within reach even when factoring in Glass‘s potentially divisive word of mouth. Another fair comparison point is 2008’s Cloverfield, which exploded with $40.1 million / $46.2 million.
For reference, Universal expects around $50 million for the four-day weekend.
In general, many films already in release should post strong holds — although a few will suffer from theater count drops. Notably, we think momentum for The Upside, its crowd-pleasing and star-driven status, and minimal crossover with Glass‘s male-driven audience should translate to a strong sophomore frame for the Bryan Cranston-Kevin Hart dramedy. A Dog’s Way Home could similarly score a strong hold with no new releases aiming at families and young ones.
Top 10 vs. Last year
Boxoffice projects this weekend’s top ten films will earn approximately $116 million or more. That would represent at least an 11 percent increase from the same weekend last year (which represented the post-MLK weekend due to different calendar alignment) when Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle led the box office over healthy debuts from 12 Strong and Den of Thieves — all part of a $104.2 million top ten weekend. For a more apples-to-apples comparison, MLK weekend last year generated $129.3 million across the top ten films.
|Film||Distributor||3-Day Weekend Forecast||Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, January 20||% Change from Last Wknd|
|Glass||Universal||$51,500,000 (3-day) / $59,400,000 (4-day)||$51,500,000 (Sunday) / $59,400,000 (Monday)||NEW|
|A Dog’s Way Home||Sony / Columbia||$9,500,000||$23,700,000||-16%|
|Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse||Sony / Columbia||$6,300,000||$157,100,000||-30%|
|Mary Poppins Returns||Disney||$4,900,000||$158,300,000||-36%|
|The Mule||Warner Bros.||$4,100,000||$97,700,000||-28%|
|Escape Room||Sony / Columbia||$3,800,000||$39,100,000||-57%|
|On the Basis of Sex||Focus Features||$3,600,000||$16,600,000||-41%|
Forecasts subject to change as location counts are finalized before Friday.
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Alex Edghill contributed to this report