M. Night Shyamalan is back on top at the box office after a decade-plus drought thanks to his latest Philadelphia-shot thriller Split.
Shyamalan’s Split debuted at number one over the weekend with $40.2 million, Variety reports. That number makes Split Shyamalan’s first number-one movie since 2004’s The Village. The film debuted Friday against xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, a Vin Diesel-starring action flick that garnered $20 million for second place at the domestic box office.
Split stars James McAvoy as Kevin, a man with 24 different personalities who kidnaps a group of women and holds them hostage in a windowless room.
As Mashable reports, Split’s $40.2 million opening puts it behind the openings of Shyamalan’s top three performers: 2002’s Signs ($60.1 million), 2004’s The Village ($50.7 million), and 2010’s The Last Airbender ($40.3 million). Shyamalan’s previous film, 2015’s The Visit, nabbed $25.4 million domestically during its opening weekend.
Split follows The Visit in Shyamalan’s new-found foray into lower-budget filmmaking after a couple high-profile flops. The Last Airbender, for example, had a budget of $150 million, but drew just $40.3 million its opening weekend. Split, meanwhile, was reportedly made for under $10 million, while The Visit was filmed for $5 million.
In addition to box-office success, Split has also received a fair amount of good press. Movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes rates the film at a collective 76 percent. Inquirer movie reviewer Tirdad Derakhshani called the film a “remarkably weird and wonderful exercise in psychological terror.”
With that, it seems, Shyamalan is back to his old form, a la The Sixth Sense or The Village. His next project, a remake of Tales from the Crypt, is scheduled to debut on TNT at the end of 2017.