Box Office: “Split” is a hit, “xXx”isn’t quite a bomb

boxJudging from the opening weekend box office take, M. Night Shyamalan has a future…in January movies. His self-penned “Split”, a real showcase for the scenery-chewing multi-personality skills of James McAvoy, is on its way to a $33 million take.

Decent reviews (I found it ho hum) didn’t hurt, and McAvoy’s name as first class X-Man is a big help. But any way you slice it, without much competition, a horrific hit.

Paramount tried to cherry pick reviewers to give “xXx” a boost. High early Rotten Tomatoes rating. Then Thursday and Friday came and the real critics weighed in and boom boom, out go the lights. Vin Diesel, back in his third franchise, isn’t packing them in the way he’s packed on the bulk. Less than $20 million. Not exactly a bomb, but weighed against cost, not remotely a hit. Overseas may make this pay off.

People only want to see him in “Fast and Furious” movies, and they don’t show up for him for those either. We go for the cars and assorted dishy women and sarcastic co-stars. We go for The Rock and Michelle Rodriguez. We do.

“Hidden Figures” is racing “La La Land” to $100 million. “Hidden” could get there by next Saturday. “La La” will be right behind it.

“The Founder” opened somewhat wide and will just miss the top ten.

Oscar nominations come out Tuesday. If “Hidden” scores one or two and “The Founder” manages one, expect those numbers to spike. “20th Century Women” is banking on an Oscar boost, too.

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