M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Glass’ shatters January’s box-office slump with $40.6M debut

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M. Night Shyamalan scored his fifth No. 1 movie as “Glass,” while not quite the blockbuster some expected, nevertheless dominated Martin Luther King Jr. weekend at the box office with $40.6 million in ticket sales.

Universal Pictures predicts that “Glass” will make about $47 million for the four-day holiday. Some industry forecasts had gone as high as $75 million. But poor reviews took some of the momentum away from “Glass,” the director’s final entry in a trilogy begun with 2000’s “Unbreakable” and followed up with 2017’s “Split.”

Shyamalan’s film registered a 35 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences also gave it a mediocre B on CinemaScore.

Yet the result still proved the renewed draw of Shyamalan, the “Sixth Sense” filmmaker synonymous with supernatural thrillers and unpredictable plot twists.”Split,” which greatly overshot expectations with a $40 million opening and $278.5 million worldwide, signaled Shyamalan’s return as a box-office force, now teamed up with horror factory Blumhouse Productions. Shyamalan put up the film’s approximately $20 million budget.

Jim Orr, president of domestic distribution for Universal, says forecasts for “Glass” were out of whack with the studio’s own expectations. He acknowledges that better reviews might have meant a larger return and that the winter storm across the Midwest and Northeast may have dampened results.But he says the studio was thrilled with the results. The four-day total ranks “Glass” as the third best MLK weekend opening ever, behind only “American Sniper” ($107.2 million) and “Ride Along” ($48.6 million). “Glass” also picked up $48.5 million overseas.

“This came in at or above any reasonable industry expectations,” Orr says.Last week’s top film, Kevin Hart’s “The Upside,” held especially well in its second weekend, sliding only 23 percent with $15.7 million. STX Entertainment estimated it will take $19.5 million for the four-day period, offering further proof that Hart’s fallout as Oscar host over past homophobic tweets hasn’t hurt his box-office appeal.

But the weekend’s biggest surprise was the Japanese anime film “Dragon Ball Super: Broly,” which earned an estimated $8.7 million from just 1,250 North American theaters, according to Comscore, and $19.5 million since opening Wednesday. (It grossed more than $7 million just on opening day.)

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