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Shyamalan's 'Split' divides competition to rule box office

Associated Press logo Associated Press 1/22/2017 By JAKE COYLE, AP Film Writer
This image released by Universal Pictures shows James McAvoy in a scene from, "Split." (Universal Pictures via AP) © The Associated Press This image released by Universal Pictures shows James McAvoy in a scene from, "Split." (Universal Pictures via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — M. Night Shyamalan's psychological thriller "Split" blew away box-office expectations, earning an estimated $40.2 million in ticket sales over inauguration weekend.

This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Vin Diesel as Xander Cage in "xXx: The Return of Xander Cage." (George Kraychyk/Paramount Pictures and Revolution Studios via AP) © The Associated Press This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Vin Diesel as Xander Cage in "xXx: The Return of Xander Cage." (George Kraychyk/Paramount Pictures and Revolution Studios via AP)

Though many were focused on Friday's presidential inauguration and Saturday's nationwide women's marches, "Split" doubled forecasts to easily lead all films. The Universal Pictures release again brings together Shyamalan, director of "The Sixth Sense," with the low-budget horror experts of Blumhouse Productions.

This image released by The Weinstein Company shows Michael Keaton, center, in a scene from, "The Founder." (Daniel McFadden/The Weinstein Company via AP) © The Associated Press This image released by The Weinstein Company shows Michael Keaton, center, in a scene from, "The Founder." (Daniel McFadden/The Weinstein Company via AP)

"Split," starring James McAvoy, was made for less than $10 million.

Opening in second place was the Vin Diesel action sequel "xXx: The Return of Xander Cage," with $20 million. It's the third film in the trilogy and first installment in 12 years.

Last weekend's top film, the stirring mathematician drama "Hidden Figures," held on well, sliding to third place with an estimated $16.3 million.

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