After a post-holiday sleeper period at the box office largely dominated by Warner Bros’ Aquaman, the 2019 box office is set to wake up this weekend with its first, truly fire-breathing event film, Glass, from two-time Oscar nominee M. Night Shyamalan. It is looking at a $105 million-$120 million global start, inclusive of the four-day MLK holiday in the U.S.
While an immediate follow-up to the director’s Universal/Blumhouse surprise $278M-plus grossing hit Split from two years ago, Glass has more of a legacy appeal to Shyamalan fans as it’s also a sequel to his 2000 cult superhero movie Unbreakable. Because of that film’s connection, Disney, which originally handled Unbreakable theatrically 18 years ago, has overseas on Glass via Buena Vista International.
James McAvoy reprises his Split role as Kevin Wendell Crumb, a man who suffers from an extreme case of Dissociative Identity Disorder, with 23 personalities. He becomes imprisoned at a mental hospital with Samuel L. Jackson’s evil, brittle-boned Mr. Glass and Bruce Willis’ good guy strong man David Dunn, and they have to fight their way out.
Tracking is seeing Glass at $60M over four days at roughly 3,700 theaters in U.S. and Canada, but there are some who believe this pic, given its long fandom appeal, could jump to $70M. Glass cost in the low $20M before P&A to make and was completely financed by Shyamalan; the movie was a negative pickup for both Universal and BVI.
Anything over $50M during the course of four days would also be fantastic for Glass. Don’t let the current 38% Rotten Tomatoes score fool you — there’s a lot of passion that has built up throughout the years for Shyamalan’s Unbreakable, and rival studios have been anticipating a huge opening for Glass for quite some time, and didn’t even try to program wide entries against the “threequel,” with STX taking its Kevin Hart movie (who usually opens over the four-day holiday) The Upside out last weekend.
(Anecdotally, if you’re looking for a copy of Unbreakable on DVD at Amoeba in Hollywood — they’re already sold out after having several copies in stock.)
Split opened to $40M over three days two Januarys ago, and the top four-day MLK openers remain American Sniper ($107.2M) and Ride Along at $48.6M. Universal and Blumhouse recently had success with Miramax’s Halloween, which defied all late October expectations and hurdles with an awesome $76.2M start. That movie, plus Split, are the global comps here.
Thursday showtimes start at 7 PM stateside. This past weekend, fans got to attend the first public screening of the full trilogy — Unbreakable, Split and Glass — at Alamo Drafthouse venues nationwide, dubbed “The Shyamalanathon,” which included a live Q&A with the filmmaker.
Overseas, BVI is installing Glass into theaters in a day-and-date release that begins tomorrow in France and builds through the weekend to even include Japan (but not China). Industry sources have the movie opening in the $45M-$50M range, although it could be higher given there’s been little new in the markets since the holidays, along with other factors. Overseas B.O. analysts expect this one to be front-loaded, so word of mouth will be a significant component. Reviews have been better overseas than in the states.
In unadjusted comps, Split opened to $43.4M abroad and Halloween to $35.2M, both in like-for-like offshore hubs. The films finaled internationally at a respective $140.2M (a little over 50% of the total) and $94.4M (37%). Split’s top markets overall were the UK, France, Korea, Germany and Russia; Halloween’s were Mexico, the UK, Germany, France and Australia.
We’ve been cautioned that there is lower awareness of trilogy-starter Unbreakable outside the mature major territories. That movie dates back 19 years, but the overseas landscape is now vastly different. There’s also a notion that the superhero element, coupled with the intrigue built by Split (this movie should hit a wider demo) and the growth in some markets could work in Glass’ favor.
Unbreakable is indeed a tough one to use as a barometer because of its distance to today. In 2000, Shyamalan and Willis were hot off The Sixth Sense and the top ultimate plays were Japan, France, the UK, Germany and Italy. Unbreakable cumed $153.1M overseas (61.7% of the unadjusted total).
Willis and McAvoy have been making the promotional rounds in France while the latter also appeared with Sarah Paulson on last Friday’s Graham Norton Show in the UK after the London premiere.
Frontloaded or not, there is not much in Glass’ way ahead as releases — generally in the family realm — are staggered in the next few weeks before Alita: Battle Angel in February and then Captain Marvel in March.
There is no China date on Glass for the moment, and it’s understood that should it slot in, the movie would not go through Disney. Rather it would be a Shyamalan show. China doesn’t typically accept horror movies, although Blumhouse’s Happy Death Day got in last year and so did Paramount’s A Quiet Place. This one is more of a hybrid, and again, has that superhero element.
Stateside, STX/Lantern Entertainment’s No. 1 grosser from last weekend, The Upside, which cleared $20.3M over three days and currently is up to $22.1M through four days, is looking at an estimated second weekend of $14M over four days. Box office sources believe a $60M final domestic is definitely possible, and that STX would profit between $6M-$10M after all distribution fees are counted from domestic theatrical and home ancillaries. Lantern will wind up with a greater sum since the label has full equity in the former Weinstein Company title.
Funimation has Dragon Ball Super: Broly at 1,260 theaters and 180 PLF theaters in the U.S. and Canada opening on Wednesday. The pic will play in a one-day engagement at only those 180 PLFs but continue to play for the next several weeks. The anime title, which Fox International has abroad, has accumulated close to $54M from 17 offshore territories.