The extended holiday weekend saw a few surprises in what has been an interesting start to 2019. Even with only one new major wide release hitting theaters we still had an very competitive top ten by the end of it all with holdovers continuing to show strong staying power and even a new animated offering shining in its debut. So, who were the winners and losers of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend 2019? Let break it down.
Divisive Director M. Night Shyamalan continued his career renaissance with the release of “Glass”, the third and final entry in the Eastrail 177 Trilogy that also includes “Unbreakable” and “Split”. “Glass” topped the box office with $40.5 million which is shy of expectations but still a solid weekend for a director who has become the butt of many jokes of the years. “Glass” performed better than either of its predecessors making $10 million more than “Unbreakable” did in its first weekend and about $500,000 more than “Split’s” opening. “Glass” endured poor reviews from critics, the lowest of the series in fact and the first “rotten” movie in the series on Rotten Tomatoes. While not everyone agreed with this assessment, including me and you can read my opinion of the film here, it still seemed to impact expectations as “Glass” entered the weekend with a predicted $50 million to $75 million potential weekend gross and didn’t even hit the low mark. To it’s credit “Glass” has the second highest CinemaScore of the three films with a “B” score compared to “Split’s” “B+” rating and “Unbreakable’s” “C” score. The film earned another $48.5 million internationally topping the global box office as well.
Another new addition to the top five was a surprise success story of the weekend, “Dragon Ball Super: Broly”. The English dub of the latest film from the long-running anime franchise finished in fourth on the weekend after real number adjustments making even more headlines than “Glass” as it took in an estimated $9.7 million in only 1,236 theaters in its American debut. This may change and push it to third by the end of Martin Luther King Jr. Day depending on studio reports. The film was already a hit internationally but after receiving great reviews from both critics and fans its popularity took off. Preceding “Broly” on the chart was last week’s champion “The Upside” with $15 million and “Aquaman” held strong in third with $10.1 million. “Aquaman” also added $14.3 million overseas coming within $21 million of topping “The Dark Knight Rises” as DC’s top-grossing film internationally. Rounding out the top five was the Golden Globe winning “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” with $7.5 million.
Looking to this coming weekend it’s going to be interesting to see how Tuesday’s Oscar nomination announcements shake things up. Most of the buzzed films are currently in theaters in one form or another so we will see if the nominations translate into income. Two wide releases will also make an impact. Fox will release a child-friendly take on the King Arthur legend with “The Kid Who Would be King” while Aviron’s intriguing “Serenity” will also make its premiere. My opinion is that neither of these films will challenge “Aquaman”, “The Upside” or “Glass” for the top spots, but I’ve been wrong before. We shall see this time next week.