Can Rings Scare Split Away from the Top Spot at the Box Office?

M. Night Shyamalan’s surprise hit Split continued to dominate the box office last weekend thanks to just a 35.9% second-weekend drop which resulted in an impressive $25.6 million take, easily beating newcomers A Dog’s Purpose, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter and Gold. This weekend, it will go up against the long-awaited and oft-delayed horror sequel Rings and STX Entertainment’s drama The Space Between Us, in this weekend’s race for box office supremacy. While Split very well may suffer another minimal drop in its third weekend, we’re predicting that Rings will take the top spot with $21.6 million.

Director M. Night Shyamalan‘s Split has far exceeded every expectation at the box office, currently standing at $77.3 million domestic and just over $101 million worldwide, from a $9 million budget. After just two weeks, those numbers have already surpassed the totals for his last low-budget thriller, The Visit, which earned $65.2 million domestically and $98.4 million worldwide from just a $5 million budget in the fall of 2015. Still, while it continues to impress this weekend, we’re predicting that it will drop to second place with $16.9 million, falling between the projected winner Rings and the other newcomer, STX Entertainment’s The Space Between Us, which we’re projecting will open in third place with $12.6 million.

Box Office Mojo estimates that Rings will open in roughly 3,000 theaters this weekend, while The Space Between Us will open in roughly 2,800 theaters. If this theater count projection rings true, then this horror sequel will debut in far less theaters than its predecessor, The Ring Two, which debuted in 3,332 theaters way back in 2005. As of now, neither Rings nor The Space Between Us has enough reviews posted on Rotten Tomatoes for a “TomatoMeter” score, but that will surely change between now and Friday.

Rings marks a new chapter in the beloved Ring horror franchise. A young woman becomes worried about her boyfriend when he explores a dark subculture surrounding a mysterious videotape said to kill the watcher seven days after he has viewed it. She sacrifices herself to save her boyfriend and in doing so makes a horrifying discovery: there is a “movie within the movie” that no one has ever seen before. Rings stars Aimee Teegarden, Johnny Galecki, Lizzie Brochere, Laura Wiggins, Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, Zach Roerig, Alex Roe and Bonnie Morgan as Samara. Rings was originally slated to hit theaters on November 13, 2015, just months after principal photography began that spring, but it was later pushed into the spring of 2016. Then last February, it was pushed to a Halloween 2016 release date, before being pushed into its current date.

In the interplanetary adventure The Space Between Us, a space shuttle embarks on the first mission to colonize Mars, only to discover after takeoff that one of the astronauts is pregnant. Shortly after landing, she dies from complications while giving birth to the first human born on the red planet, never revealing who the father is. Thus begins the extraordinary life of Gardner Elliot (Asa Butterfield) an inquisitive, highly intelligent boy who reaches the age of 16 having only met 14 people in his very unconventional upbringing. While searching for clues about his father, and the home planet he’s never known, Gardner begins an online friendship with a street smart girl in Colorado named Tulsa (Britt Robertson). When he finally gets a chance to go to Earth, he’s eager to experience all of the wonders he could only read about on Mars, from the most simple to the extraordinary. But once his explorations begin, scientists discover that Gardner’s organs can’t withstand Earth’s atmosphere.

We’re predicting that the top 5 will be rounded out by the controversial A Dog’s Purpose in fourth place with $10.4 million and the awards season hit Hidden Figures in fifth place with $9.6 million. The top 10 will likely be rounded out by Resident Evil: The Final Chapter ($8.7 million), La La Land ($8.2 million), XXX: The Return of Xander Cage ($5.7 million), Sing ($4.1 million) and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story ($3.2 million). Also opening in limited release is Sony Pictures Classics’ The Comedian, CJ Pictures’ Confidential Assignment, Vertical Entertainment’s Eloise, Indican’s The Grace of Jake, Magnolia’s documentary I am Not Your Negro, Sony’s Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back and another Indican release, The Trouble with Terkel. It remains unclear if any of these films will expand in the weeks and months to come.

Looking ahead to next weekend, this could be the first blockbuster weekend of the new year, with three highly-anticipated new films arriving in theaters. Universal Pictures will open its sexually-charged sequel Fifty Shades Darker against Warner Bros.’ animated LEGO Movie spin-off The LEGO Batman Movie and Lionsgate’s R-rated action-packed sequel John Wick: Chapter Two. Since all of their predecessors fared well at the box office in their previous outings, it could make for an unprecedented February weekend at the box office. Take a look at our projections for the weekend of February 3, and check back on Sunday for the box office estimates.

1 Rings
2 Split
3 The Space Between Us
4 A Dog’s Purpose
5 Hidden Figures
6 Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
7 La La Land
8 XXX: The Return of Xander Cage
9 Sing
10 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

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