Box Office Guy: Glass

Patrick Reardon

Last weekend "The Upside" exceeded even its loftiest box office prognostications as the Kevin Hart/Bryant Cranston dramedy scored an impressive $20.4m. Boy that Oscar hosting controversy REALLY hurt Kevin Hart's drawing power. At this rate his "Jumanji" sequel this December might only gross $950m worldwide instead of the "$962.1m that the original earned. However, it's going to be a brief stay at number one since the first blockbuster of 2019 is opening this Friday.

"Glass" is a direct sequel to writer/director/punching bag M. Night Shyamalan's 2017 hit "Split" which was actually a stealthy sequel (cinematic sibling?) to Shyamalan's 2000 hit "Unbreakable."

On this weekend two years ago "Split" was a surprise hit which enjoyed a $40m opening on its way to a final domestic tally of $138.3m. Not bad for a film that reportedly had a budget under $10m. Viewers who stuck around through the end credits were surprised and/or delighted to discover that "Split" takes place in the same cinematic universe as "Unbreakable."

"Unbreakable" came out way back in 2000 so we need to put its $30.3m opening and $95m domestic total into context. When these numbers are adjusted for inflation they come out to about $49m and $155m in 2019 dollars. Fairly comparable to the performance of "Split."

Because of the popularity of "Split" and the connection to the well received "Unbreakable" I expect "Glass" to top all of these box office numbers on this long MLK weekend, which is why "Glass" has been split up into daily pricing in Fantasy Movie League. The Friday-Saturday option will cost you FB$586 while the Sunday-Monday option will cost you FB$336. When this pricing was released this past Monday I was initially tempted by the Sunday-Monday option. But based on the mostly negative reviews and social media buzz I have a feeling "Glass" is going to have a highly frontloaded holiday weekend. It could suffer some steep drops in the weeks ahead but I think it's going to be a box office beast this weekend.

Finally a quick aside about Mr. Shyamalan. Over the past twenty years his career has been fascinating. He's shown us the good ("The Sixth Sense"), the bad ("Lady in the Water") and the dear god that may have been the worst mainstream movie I've ever seen from a major studio ("The Happening"). I've been plenty critical of him over the years starting with the book "The Man Who Heard Voices" (which could easily be titled "Narcissism 101") and a four-film run that could have put him into permanent movie jail ("Lady in the Water," "The Happening," "The Last Airbender" and "After Earth").

With his career on the ropes he self-financed "The Visit," found a distributor and it turned into a surprise hit ($65.2m domestic total). He then used this newfound juice to get "Split" made, which is hindsight seems like a no-brainer but this was a weird, risky gamble and Shyamalan had his biggest hit since "Signs." And now after nineteen years he's finally bringing his unlikely "Unbreakable" trilogy full circle with "Glass." It's a remarkable achievement and he should be lauded. So congratulations to M. Night on a remarkable twenty-year run, enjoy your well-deserved laurels this weekend and I sincerely hope that the inevitable success of "Glass" doesn't inspire you to make a sequel to "The Happening."

Weekend Picks

My picks for this weekend's top 5 in total box office (this week's cost in FML Bux in parentheses):

  1. Glass Friday-Saturday (FB$586)
  2. Glass Sunday-Monday (FB$336)
  3. The Upside (FB$212)
  4. Aquaman (FB$190)
  5. A Dog's Way Home (FB$128)

Bonus Pick of the Week: "Green Book" (FB$39) While I'm tempted by the possibility of the Friday-Saturday "Glass" option shattering expectations the negative reviews are enough to give me pause. I'm leaning towards "Green Book" because 1) it's the cheapest option out there this week, 2) with Oscar nominations being announced on Tuesday I wouldn't be shocked if Universal upped its theater count once again in order to help secure some major nominations and 3) it seems to be weathering its recent storm of negative publicity. It's a low risk possibly high reward option that could end up in the bonus hunt this weekend.

Coming Attractions

"Glass" should have no trouble dominating the box office for a second week in a row since neither of next weeks new challengers pose much of a threat. "The Kid Who Would Be King" is targeting family audiences while Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway hope their star power can boost the prospects for the dramatic thriller "Serenity."

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