'Split' Looks to Fend Off 'Rings' and 'Space Between Us' Over Super Bowl Weekend

by Brad Brevet

February 2, 2017

SATURDAY AM UPDATE: Rings was able to just squeak by Universal's Split for a Friday victory, bringing in an estimated $5.6 million (including $800k from Thursday previews). The third film in the Rings franchise, however, will likely fall short of a weekend victory, delivering around $13 million or so while Split is looking at another #1 finish this weekend around $14.5 million or so after an estimated $4.8 million on Friday.

STX's The Space Between Us was the only other wide release this weekend and it brought in an estimated $1.4 million on Friday and doesn't look as if it will be able to hit $4 million for the weekend. This is well below industry expectations and gives weight to the numbers we were looking at heading into the weekend based on IMDb page view data.

You can check out all of the Friday estimates right here and we'll be back on Sunday morning with a complete wrap-up.

FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Paramount's Rings delivered an estimated $800,000 on Thursday night, playing in 2,155 theaters on Thursday evening. For comparison, Sinister 2 brought in $850k on Thursday before opening with $10.5 million while Ouija: Origin of Evil brought in $722k from Thursday previews before opening with $14 million. All of which puts Rings right within the range of expectation.

STX's The Space Between Us brought in an estimated $170,000 from Thursday previews, which began at 7PM. That's a bit below the $220k STX's The Edge of Seventeen brought in back in November on Thursday night before opening with $4.7 million, but it is equal to Eddie the Eagle's Thursday preview result last February before it went on to open with just over $6 million.

You can check out our weekend preview below and we'll be back tomorrow morning with a look at Friday estimates.

WEEKEND PREVIEW: Last year three new films debuted over Super Bowl weekend and only one of the three (Hail, Caesar!) managed to top $10 million. In fact, Super Bowl weekend last year was the fourth worst overall weekend of 2016 as the top twelve managed to only gross a combined $82 million. As for Super Bowl weekend this year, it's only looking mildly better as Universal's Split will tussle with Paramount's Rings in an attempt to threepeat atop the weekend box office. Elsewhere, STX's The Space Between Us may struggle to debut within the top five while the Weinstein Co. hopes their Oscar-nominated feature Lion finds its way into the top ten as it expands into over 1,400 theaters nationwide.

Last weekend saw Universal's Split finish atop the weekend box office for a second week in a row, dropping only 36%, much better than previous horror films with similar openings. This weekend Split will have to contend with the fact Paramount is releasing a horror film of their own as Rings, the third film in the Ring franchise, debuts in just under 3,000 theaters. However, momentum is on Split's side, suggesting a weekend drop around 46% or so could see it challenging for a third weekend at the top of the box office. If it wasn't Super Bowl weekend we'd probably be anticipating a third weekend around $15+ million, but instead we're expecting something closer to $14 million or just a shade under as Split inches closer to $100 million domestically.

That said, Rings arrives 12 years after The Ring Two and 15 years after The Ring originally terrorized audiences in 2002 to the tune of nearly $130 million domestically and just shy of $250 million worldwide. Budgeted at $25 million (just over half of what it cost to produce the first film), Rings has had a tough time on its way to the big screen. Originally slated to hit theaters in November of 2015, the film was then bumped to April 2016 and again to October before settling on an early February 2017 release. Now here we are, hours before the film begins 7 PM preview screenings on Thursday night, and reviews are still being embargoed until Friday morning. Not a good sign.

Based on IMDb page view statistics, interest in the film shows it trending close to films such as Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones and The Woman in Black 2 leading up to release. Given what we're seeing, should these comparisons hold, we could be looking at an opening around $15 million or so, which would be an improvement on industry estimates, which have it opening around $10-12 million. We're a little hesitant, however, to go as high as $15 million, but are anticipating Rings will deliver around $13 million for the weekend.

It's not until sixth place where we estimate we'll find the weekend's other new wide release, STX's The Space Between Us. Like Rings, this one has also bounced around the release calendar several times after first being slated for a July 2016 release. Budgeted at a reported $30 million, industry expectations are in the $8-10 million range as the studio has positioned it as a bit of counter-programming to the Super Bowl. Last year Lionsgate released The Choice on Super Bowl weekend and could only muster $6 million from 2,631 theaters, which wasn't helped by a 12% rating at RottenTomatoes and 26 on MetaCritic, but it isn't as if Space Between Us is doing any better.

In fact, as of publication, The Space Between Us holds a dismal 7% rating on RottenTomatoes and a 31 on MetaCritic. Making matters worse, IMDb page view statistics are showing a severe lack of interest as it is trending well below The Choice at the same point in the release cycle as well as STX's recent release The Edge of Seventeen, which opened to a disappointing $4.75 million from 1,945 theaters back in November 2016.

To STX's credit, they have shown good marketing acumen, though mostly with their low budget horror releases, but right now it is tough to expect Space Between Us to match that $8-10 million expectation as we're anticipating something closer to $6-6.5 million this weekend from 2,812 theaters.

Rounding out the top ten it will be a test to see if the Weinstein Co's Lion can hold off Rogue One for tenth position. Lion was nominated for six Oscars including Best Picture, Supporting Actor (Dev Patel) and Supporting Actress (Nicole Kidman) and expands into 1,405 theaters (+830) this weekend. Following the film's nominations last week it saw a 33% bump over the weekend despite not adding a single theater and we're anticipating a similar jump this weekend for a three-day around $3.6 million.

Outside the top ten, Sony Classics is releasing Robert De Niro's The Comedian into 848 theaters where it should haul in $1.5 million or so as reviews haven't exactly been encouraging enough to attract the attention of the film's target audience.

In limited release Sony will premiere Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back, which opened with $84 million in China last weekend, and Magnolia is releasing the Oscar-nominated documentary I am Not Your Negro.

This weekend's forecast is directly below. This post will be updated on Friday morning with Thursday night preview results followed by Friday estimates on Saturday morning, and a complete weekend recap on Sunday morning.

  • Split (3,371 theaters) - $14.0 M
  • Rings (2,931 theaters) - $13.2 M
  • A Dog's Purpose (3,179 theaters) - $11.1 M
  • Hidden Figures (3,401 theaters) - $10.0 M
  • La La Land (3,236 theaters) - $8.3 M
  • The Space Between Us (2,812 theaters) - $6.2 M
  • Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (3,104 theaters) - $5.7 M
  • xXx: The Return of Xander Cage (3,274 theaters) - $4.6 M
  • Sing (2,288 theaters) - $4.4 M
  • Lion (1,405 theaters) - $3.6 M

Discuss this story with fellow Box Office Mojo fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @boxofficemojo and author Brad Brevet at @bradbrevet.

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