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Box Office: ‘Rings’ Crawls Past ‘Split’ to Win Friday

While “Split” may well win its third straight weekend at the box office, Paramount’s newcomer “Rings” took the top slot on Friday with $5.6 million in earnings from 2,931 locations. “Split” followed closely behind with $4.8 million from 3,373 theaters. Both films should finish the sleepy Super Bowl weekend in the $13 to $14 million range.

“Split,” directed by M. Night Shyamalan and starring James McAvoy, has performed very well for Universal, Blumhouse and Shyamalan, who self-financed the title for less than $10 million. After three weekends in release, the psychological thriller should be on the brink of $100 million domestically.

Rings,” revives the franchise started by 2002’s “The Ring,” starring Naomi Watts, which was a remake of a 1998 Japanese horror film. It stars Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki, Vincent D’Onofrio, Aimee Teegarden and Bonnie Morgan. F. Javier Gutierrez directed “Rings,” and Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald are producers. The horror sequel, which has a $25 million price tag, is also opening in 36 international markets this weekend.

During a slow Super Bowl weekend, “The Space Between Us” is acting especially sluggish. The the sci-fi romance made $1.4 million on Friday at 2,812 locations. Gary Oldman stars along with Asa Butterfield, Carla Gugino, and Britt Robertson. STX picked up the project from Relativity as that company went into bankruptcy, meaning its financial exposure was less than $3.7 million after foreign sales, tax credits, and co-financing deals are taken into account.

Robert De Niro’s comedy-drama “The Comedian,” from Sony Pictures Classics, made $323,000 at 848 locations on Friday. Oscar-nominated documentary “I Am Not Your Negro” opened at 43 locations and made $201,000.

Apart from the top two slots taken by “Split” and “Rings,” this weekend’s top five should also include the second week of “A Dog’s Purpose” and Oscar-contenders “Hidden Figures” and “La La Land.” The former two are targeting the $10 million range, which Lionsgate’s original musical is dancing toward $7 million. When counting international grosses, “La La Land” is expected to cross the $250 million milestone after Saturday’s numbers are counted.

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