M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass” is heading toward a sizable domestic debut to kick off the new year.
Early tracking shows the gruesome thriller could earn between $70 million and $75 million when it opens over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend, though some box office watchers have projected a more reserved $50 million during its first four days of release.
If projections hold, even the lower part of that range would rank as the second-best sum for a movie during Martin Luther King weekend. The No. 1 slot belongs to Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper,” which racked up $107 million over the holiday in 2015. A debut over $50 million would put “Glass” just ahead of another Universal title, “Ride Along” in terms of MLK weekend hauls. The buddy cop comedy with Kevin Hart and Ice Cube pulled in $48 million during the same frame in 2014.
Shyamalan wrote and directed “Glass,” which follows the filmmaker’s prior movies “Unbreakable” and “Split.” The newest entry will complete the “Unbreakable” series, also referred to as the “Eastrail 177” trilogy. The third film combines the casts from the first two, with Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson reprising their roles from 2000’s “Unbreakable” and James McAvoy returning as sociopath Kevin Wendell Crumb from “Split.”
“Glass” follows the events of “Split” and sees security guard David Dunn (Willis) using his superhuman abilities to bring mass murderer Elijah Price (Jackson) together with Crumbs and his 24 personalities.
With Blumhouse on board, the movie cost $20 million to produce. That could be considered a hefty price tag by Jason Blum’s standards, though the horror maestro has said he’s willing to shell out a few extra bucks for sequels and existing IP. Blumhouse usually makes movies for under $10 million.
“Split” was a surprise hit at the box office, debuting with $40 million and ending its theatrical run with $278 million globally. It was produced for $9 million and became one of the most profitable titles that year.
Before Universal took the reins on the supernatural series, Disney distributed “Unbreakable,” which generated $248.1 million worldwide. Since it was before Blumhouse applied its low-budget model to the thriller, it cost $75 million before marketing costs, making it significantly more expensive than the follow-up.
While a handful of titles are launching earlier in January, “Glass” looks to be the first potential blockbuster of 2019. It’s currently the only wide release set for that weekend.