Psycho-Thriller ‘Split’ Tops Box Office for Second Weekend

“Split,” the psychological thriller from “The Sixth Sense” director M. Night Shyamalan, led the U.S. box office in its second weekend of release, outdrawing three new films, including a movie about dogs that drew protests from animal rights groups.

The low-budget thriller from Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures collected an estimated $25.7 million in U.S. and Canadian theaters, ComScore Inc. said Monday in an e-mailed statement. The three new releases “A Dog’s Purpose,” “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” and “Gold” placed second, fourth and 10th, respectively.

Analysts were forecasting a slow January weekend, with none of the new movies expected to bring in more than $20 million. Fans also had a chance to catch up on Oscar hopefuls after last week’s nominations. “La La Land,” the Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. release that garnered 14 nominations, expanded to more theaters.

In “A Dog’s Purpose” a devoted pet discovers the meaning of his existence as he’s reincarnated several times with different owners. Josh Gad provides the voice of a retriever called Bailey who is adopted by a young boy Ethan played by Bryce Gheisar. Dennis Quaid features as the grown-up Ethan. Lasse Hallström directs.

The movie generated $18.2 million in ticket sales. The film from Universal Pictures and Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment had a production budget of $22 million, according to Box Office Mojo, and was forecast to place first with $17.5 million in its debut, according to analysts at BoxOfficePro.com. Analysts downgraded their forecasts after animal rights groups criticized the filmmakers’ handling of one animal.

Either way, critics didn’t like “A Dog’s Purpose.” It scored just 33 percent positive reviews, according to aggregator Rottentomatoes.com.

In Sony’s “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter,” Milla Jovovich returns as a super soldier, the human race’s last hope against an apocalyptic future. This time she has been stripped of her psychic powers and must form alliances to win in a battle against a horde of undead.

The sixth installment in the series -- the most successful movies based on a video game -- cost $40 million to make. The film generated $13.6 million, topping the $12.2 million estimate by Box Office Mojo. Fewer than half the reviews were positive, according to Rottentomatoes.com.

The other new release of the weekend, Weinstein Co.’s “Gold,” features Matthew McConaughey in a dark comedy as real-life prospector who struck it rich in the 1980s after finding gold while on vacation in Indonesia. Its debut was pegged at $3.75 million, according to BoxOfficePro.com. Ticket sales were $3.47 million.

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