‘Split’ Outdraws New Films to Stay Atop Weekend Box Office

M. Night Shyamalan continued his domination of the domestic box office with his psychological thriller “Split” holding the No. 1 spot for a third weekend for Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures.

The film from the director of “The Sixth Sense” collected an estimated $14.4 million in U.S. and Canadian theaters, ComScore Inc. said in an e-mailed statement Monday. Paramount Pictures’ “Rings,” a new installment in the horror franchise, placed second with $13 million, while STX Entertainment’s young-adult drama “The Space Between Us” placed ninth with $3.8 million.

The weekend slate lacked a big new picture, with only two new wide releases and a Robert De Niro movie in limited showings. Next weekend, some of the year’s more-anticipated movies hit theaters, including the steamy drama “Fifty Shades Darker” and “The Lego Batman Movie.”

“Split” was forecast to lead with $13.5 million in additional ticket sales, analysts at BoxOfficePro.com said. “Rings,” the third film from the series based on the 2002 supernatural feature “The Ring,” scored poorly with critics, with only 6 percent giving positive reviews, according to Rottentomatoes.com.

The picture, based on a Japanese horror classic that features a black-haired ghoul, cost the Paramount division of Viacom Inc. $25 million to make and was estimated to open with $13.2 million, according to researcher Box Office Mojo.

STX Entertainment’s “The Space Between Us,” which also didn’t fare well with critics, was forecast to bring in $7.53 million, according to Hollywood Stock Exchange. Only 15 percent of critics gave the film positive reviews. The interplanetary adventure is about a boy born on Mars, who develops an online relationship with a girl on Earth, only to discover he can’t survive in its atmosphere. The production budget was $30 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

Sony Classics’ “The Comedian,” featuring De Niro as an aging comic trying to reinvent himself, was expected to land outside the top 10. Opening in about 850 theaters, the movie scored 24 percent positive reviews and generated $878,000 in its opening weekend.

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