Shyamalan's 'Split' leads box office for third weekend

This image released by Universal Pictures shows James McAvoy in a scene from, "Split." (Universal Pictures via AP)
This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Bonnie Morgan as Samara in a scene from the film, "Rings." (Paramount Pictures via AP)
This image released by STX Productions shows Britt Robertson, left, and Asa Butterfield in a scene from "The Space Between Us." (Jack English/STX Productions via AP)

NEW YORK — M. Night Shyamalan's multiple-personality thriller "Split" led the box office for a third-straight week, an unusual streak for a low-budget horror film.

According to studio estimates Sunday, "Split" came out on top again with $14.6 million in North American ticket sales, bringing the Universal Pictures release's three-week haul to $98.7 million.

The run for the Universal Pictures release has come in an especially slow period at multiplexes. Hollywood traditionally skips significant new releases on Super Bowl weekend due to the game's enormous television audience.

Surely hurt by the continued strength of "Split," Paramount's horror option, "Rings," came in second with an estimated $13 million. The sequel was an attempted revival the dormant franchise begun with 2002's "The Ring" and followed up with 2005's "The Ring Two."

That release, though, opened with $35.1 million. Like "Independence Day Resurgence," ''Bad Santa 2" and many more, "Rings" served as yet another questionable decision to recharge a franchise long out of theaters. It cost a relatively minimal $25 million to make and pulled in $15.2 million internationally over the weekend. But it won't come close to the $249.3 million the first installment made globally, or the $161.5 million "The Ring Two" made.

The weekend's other debut, "The Space Between Us," flopped altogether. The STX Entertainment release, starring Asa Butterfield as a boy who comes to Earth after being raised by astronauts on Mars, made a mere $3.8 million. It cost $30 million to make.

Universal's "A Dog's Purpose" came in third with $10.8 million in its second weekend. Audiences have largely shrugged off the outcry over a leaked video from the film's production of a frightened German shepherd being urged into churning water.

On Saturday, the group responsible for overseeing animal safety on the set, American Humane, released findings from an independent animal-cruelty expert. The unidentified veterinarian said the video mischaracterized the events on the set, though the vet acknowledged the dog should have been handled more gently in the scene shown in the video.

Several Oscar contenders continued to pad their totals. "Hidden Figures" earned $10.1 million for a seven-week total of $119.4 million. "La La Land" added $7.5 million to bring its domestic total to $118.3 million in nine weeks of release. And "Lion" took in $4 million in its 11th week for a cumulative total of $24.7 million.

"La La Land," in particular, is doing exceptional business worldwide. The best-picture favorite made $20.1 million overseas on the weekend, bringing its global haul to nearly $270 million.

More box office was found in China, where Chinese New Year titles like "Kung Fu Yoga," ''Journey to the West: Demons Strike Back" and "Duckweed" took in sums that dwarfed the North American market.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers also are included. Final three-day domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. "Split," $14.6 million ($14.6 million international).

2. "Rings," $13 million ($15.2 million international).

3. "A Dog's Purpose," $10.8 million.

4. "Hidden Figures," $10.1 million.

5. "La La Land," $7.5 million.

6. "Resident Evil: The Final Chapter," $4.5 million.

7. "Sing," $4.1 million.

8. "Lion," $4 million.

9. "The Space Between Us," $3.8 million.

10. "xXx: The Return of Xander Cage," $3.7 million ($12.4 million international).

___

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore:

1. "Kung Fu Yoga," $51.4 million.

2. "Journey to the West: Demons Strike Back," $35.3 million.

3. "Duckweed," $29.5 million.

4. "La La Land," $20.1 million.

5. "Resident Evil: The Final Chapter," $16.5 million.

6. "Rings," $15.2 million.

7. "Split," $14.6 million.

8. "Buddies in India," $12.7 million.

9. "xXx: The Return of Xander Cage," $12.4 million.

10. "Boonie Bears: Entangled Worlds," $12.1 million.

___

Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

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