Split and Rings: Horror Flicks at Box-Office

Battle of horror flicks: Universal’s Split won over Paramount’s Rings in a narrow victory at the domestic box office.

The low-budget thriller retained its first place position for the third consecutive weekend, earning $14.6 million. Split, the story of a man with multiple personalities, has made $98.7 million stateside, while costing just $9 million, making it very profitable indeed. The film stars James McAvoy, was directed by “The Sixth Sense’s” M. Night Shyamalan, and produced by Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Productions, the maker of “Sinister” and “Paranormal Activity.”

This weekend, America’s attention has shifted away from the multiplexes to the coming battle between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons. The two teams will meet at Super Bowl LI, and the high-profile matchup should ensure that the weekend box office closes on a muted note.

“Rings,” an attempt to revive a long-dormant horror franchise, earned $13 million. The first “Ring” movie opened to $15 million in 2002 on its way to a $129.1 million domestic gross, while its followup, 2005’s “The Ring Two,” kicked off to $35.1 million, ending its stateside run with $76.2 million. “Rings” was delayed multiple times, and was originally intended to hit theaters in 2015. It cost $25 million to produce and, like its predecessors, focuses on a videotape that kills those who watch it. Overseas, “Rings” took in $15.2 million from 35 international markets, including Brazil, Mexico, and Russia. Paramount marketing and distribution chief Megan Colligan said she was pleased by the reception the film received here and abroad.

Paramount has gone through a bruising period at the box office, enduring a stream of painful flops such as “Allied,” “Ben-Hur,” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.” The studio has scored with the Oscar-nominated “Fences” and “Arrival,” but is trying to exhibit greater consistency on the big screen.