‘Glass’ Tops the Box Office, But Fails to Shatter the MLK Weekend

Total grosses for the holiday didn't impress, but "Dragon Ball Super: Broly" soared — as did the theaters smart enough to book it.
'Glass' Tops the Box Office, But Fails to Shatter the MLK Weekend

M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass,” completing a loose trilogy preceded by “Unbreakable” and “Split,” easily topped the first three days of the Martin Luther King holiday weekend. Its $40.5 million total nearly beat the totals for the next three films combined.

However, grosses overall continue to decline when put beside comparable periods last year. Though the full figures should slightly outpace those of the 2018 calendar weekend, they will be down 30 percent from the earlier MLK holiday. Year to date numbers are down 13 percent.


“Glass” has the huge financial plus of costing only about $20 million. That is double the expense for the 2016 film, which opened at the same number two years ago, through the post-MLK weekend. Its success, and advance expectations for this (as well as the decline in total releases from major studios) meant it had no competition among new wide releases.

That’s unheard of. All recent years have seen at least three studio openers on this weekend. That gave “Glass” more room to explode, and led to expectations of a four-day total approaching $75 million. That estimate is now under $50 million, far short of the more optimistic hopes.

That would place it (adjusted) fifth all time for the weekend, behind “American Sniper” (which expanded to $116 million), and then “Cloverfield,” “Ride Along,” and “Black Hawk Down.” For the full month of January, it ranks #10 for all opening weekends adjusted.

That’s disconcerting, because it needs to drive totals for the next three weeks. The upcoming Super Bowl means only two new studio wide releases debut over the next two weeks. Once normal scheduling returns, theaters face a tough comparison: Last February saw the debut of “Black Panther,” the year’s top domestic release.

“Glass” opened nearly worldwide (not in China, not at present slated) to $48 million, reflecting a nearly 50/50 domestic/foreign return. This clearly is headed to profit for Universal, but it shows that studios — which generally aim for what appeals most overseas — don’t guarantee that domestic theaters share as much in the bounty.

Vic Mignogna (R) poses during arrivals for the premiere of 'Dragon Ball Super: Broly' at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California, USA, 13 December 2018. Mignogna voices the character of Broly in the anime film.'Dragon Ball Super: Broly' movie premiere arrivals, Hollywood, USA - 13 Dec 2018
Vic Mignogna poses during arrivals for the premiere of ‘Dragon Ball Super: Broly’ at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood.EUGENE GARCIA/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

All that makes Japanese martial arts anime “Dragon Ball Super: Broly” (Funimation) balm for those theaters who played it. Initially a weekday special event last Wednesday and Thursday (when it played 1,250 theaters), it was held over by a bit over a third smart enough to keep it going after its initial $10 million return. (Bookings are almost entirely locked in by Tuesday, so shifting to continuing the run wasn’t a choice for most.)

The result? A shocking third place for the weekend, with an additional nearly $10.7 million for the three days. The per-theater figure for the 467 still playing was a staggering $22,821. That made it the #1 film, ahead of “Glass,” at many top locations.

That’s a big deal, not only as a cult animated film (the 12th in the series, with none showing this level of theatrical interest). But at a time when studios are less responsive to domestic exhibition needs, it pays off to think outside the box.

Like “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” it also reflects how animated features are expanding into the young-adult audience. Past generations have lost interest in cartoon features, at least until they start taking their own kids. But “Dragon” shows that all kinds of animation can work on the big screen as well.

"The Upside"
The UpsideOneMedia

Two factors played into the strong (down 23 percent) hold for “The Upside.” Like all holdovers this week, it helped that “Glass” was the only opening. But the initial positive response (A Cinemascore) gave it a vastly better second-weekend response for a film starring Kevin Hart. His comedies generally fall around 50 percent or more in their second go-round. This more than makes up for an opening weekend that fell at the low end of his releases.

The film is up to $44 million, with now a real chance at remaining in the top three for the next two weekends and a shot of as much as $100 million. Oddly, it arrives when another oddball pairing of racially disparate men — Oscar contender “Green Book” — which is about to expand to benefit from this week’s Oscar nominations. Through its tenth weekend, that film has grossed $42 million, with the chance it will substantially rise from that number.

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”Sony Pictures Animation

The standout among holdovers is “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” Now the clear frontrunner for the Animated Feature Oscar, and perhaps the film in current play that will rank highest during the voting period, it placed fifth in its sixth weekend. It’s the oldest film in the top 10, and lagging behind only “Aquaman” this weekend among 2018 releases still playing. It will be at $160 million by Monday, with $200 million clearly in view.

“Aquaman” added another $10 million domestic to its total of over $300 million, with international heading to perhaps $800 million more. It will be unchallenged for a while, though its total will fall short of two December releases last year (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”).

The second-weekend drop for “A Dog’s Way Home” was modest at 37 percent. Family films tend to hold better, and this is a kids-friendly weekend. The drop is a bit more than two other family-oriented titles that opened earlier, “Bumblebee” and “Mary Poppins Returns.”

The Top 10

1. Glass (Universal) NEW – Cinemascore: B; Metacritic: 42; Est. budget: $20 million

$40,586,000 in 3,841 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $10,567; Cumulative: $40,856,000

2. The Upside (STX) Week 2; Last weekend: #1

$15,670,000 (-23%) in 3,320 theaters (+240); PTA: $4,720; Cumulative: $43,983,000

3. Dragon Ball Super: Broly (Funimation) NEW –  Metacritic: 64; Est. budget: $8 million

$10,657,000 in 467 theaters; PTA: $22,821; Cumulative: $21,077,000

4. Aquaman (Warner Bros.) Week 5; Last weekend: #2

$10,330,000 (-40%) in 3,475 theaters (-388); PTA: $2,973; Cumulative: $304,337,000

5. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse (Sony) Week 6; Last weekend: #5

$7,255,000 (-20%) in 2,712 theaters (-317); PTA: $2,675; Cumulative: $158,256,000

6. A Dog’s Way Home (Sony) Week 2; Last weekend: #3

$7,110,000 (-37%) in 3,090 theaters (no change); PTA: $2,301; Cumulative: $21,278,000

7. Escape Room (Sony) Week 3; Last weekend: #4

$5,275,000 (-41%) in 2,709 theaters (-8); PTA: $1,947; Cumulative: $40,701,000

8. Mary Poppins Returns (Disney) Week 5; Last weekend: #6

$5,244,000 (-31%) in 2,810 theaters (-443); PTA: $1,866; Cumulative: $158,732,000

9. Bumblebee (Paramount) Week 5; Last weekend: #7

$4,660,000 (-35%) in 2,711 theaters (-592); PTA: $1,719; Cumulative: $115,944,000

10. On the Basis of Sex (Focus) Week 4; Last weekend: #8

$3,965,000 (-35%) in 1,957 theaters (+34); PTA: $2,026; Cumulative: $16,877,000

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