It has been some time since M. Night Shyamalan has been a revered filmmaker, completely bombing with titles like Lady in the Water, The Happening and 2013's After Earth. Now the 46-year old director has struck a chord with the audience, winning this weekend's box office takings for the thriller/horror flick Split starring Scottish actor James McAvoy.
Enjoying a share of $40.2m in North America from a total of 3,038 cinemas, his new effort beat Vin Diesel's xXx: Return of Xander Cage by double - with that action sequel managing a mere $20m from a similar amount of venues. The biopic Hidden Figures, a film that looked at the role of prominent African American women during the iconic moon landing, came in at third place for a total of $16.3m.
No McDonalds Love For Keaton's Portrayal of Entrepreneur
Following on from his award winning work for the drama Birdman in 2014, it appears The Founder won't have nearly the same acclaim to flop on all counts at the box office this weekend for Michael Keaton. The production from the Weinstein Company came in at a poor $3.8m, albeit from a smaller sample size of 1,115 locations.
The Universal children's animation feature Sing would arrive in fourth place for $9m as La La Land, Monster Trucks and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story continued to role in the cash as the pictures remained on the big screen for the closing weeks. The Mark Wahlberg biographical drama Patriots Day on the other hand has failed to hit the heights it was hoping, just recording $6m to bring the total up to $23.6m.
Is This M Night's Second Coming?
1999 might only have been Shyamalan's third motion picture for The Sixth Sense, but it broke the director into the mainstream as the thriller showcased a plot twist of epic proportions - a trait that would become the trademark of the creator. This would lay the platform for 2000's Unbreakable, also featuring Bruce Willis in the main role, while Signs and even 2004's The Village helped to establish M. Night's credentials as one of the best in the business.
Then a 4-year hiatus appeared to stall his career, as expectations boomed and Lady in the Water arrived to crickets. Moviegoers had grown tired and weary of his same techniques and without the likes of Willis or Mel Gibson to bring pure star power to the set, there was little to grasp as Shyamalan went from one disappointment to the next.
If the opening numbers are an indication, perhaps Split could be the rebirth of the director.