The Möbius Strip: ‘Split’ shatters expectations, Hollywood reacts to Trump

Image courtesy Universal Pictures.

Night Shyamalan’s Split was a staggering success, pulling in more than $40 million despite industry projections putting it at $24 million or so. Releasing opposite, XXX: The Return of Xander Cage met expectations with $20 million- Box Office Mojo

There are several reasons Split blew industry expectations out of the water- The Wrap

One of them is, despite everything, people generally still really like M. Night Shyamalan. Split is being called a comeback, but it’s impressive $40 million bow is only the sixth highest opening for the director- Film School Rejects

The film is a fantastic showcase of Shyamalan’s conventions, first and foremost the twist ending that put him on the map with 1999’s The Sixth Sense. Why is the flair at the end so popular? Film School Rejects

It also explores several other character themes present in many of his movies- Vox

With the director back in the limelight, it’s time to re-examine his much-maligned 2004 romance, The Village- Vox

While horror dominated in the U.S., action held sway abroad as The Return of Xander Cage lead the international box office with $50.5 million- Variety

Buoyed by several international action stars, director D.J. Caruso took the movie’s stunts to new heights-  The New York Times

An ode to star Vin Diesel- Birth Movies Death

After prematurely dethroning Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and staying on top of the pile over Martin Luther King Day weekend to boot, Hidden Figures dropped to No. 3 with $15.7 million. The film is on pace to make at least $100 million from a $25 million budget. With this example, will Hollywood finally realize how profitable it is to make movies for minority audiences? The Atlantic

The film, about a racially tense time period and released in an entirely different racially tense time period, uses math as the ultimate equalizer- The Atlantic

2017 Academy Award nominees were released earlier today. La La Land naturally lead the pack with a record-tying 14 nominations. In contrast to the past two years, when all 20 acting nominees were white, this year’s crop includes a record-breaking six black acting nominees- The New York Times

As La La Land thunders into French theaters next weekend, it will bring with it a new format — EclairColor, a recently launched digital mastering technique- The Hollywood Reporter

On the opposite side of the spectrum, the Razzies were announced as well, with Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Zoolander 2 leading the pack- The Hollywood Reporter

Donald Trump’s inauguration and the subsequent protests dominated last week’s news, and movie scribes went to lengths to write about him as well. The easiest jumping off point was his inauguration speech, in which he inadvertantly quoted Bane from 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises. Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan, who created the character for the 1994 storyarc Knightfall, react- The Hollywood Reporter

There was a strong celebrity presence in the women’s marches the next day, and not just as featured performers- Washington Post

Shia LaBeouf brought his particular whimsy to the protests as well- Indiewire

Where celebrities took to the streets in protest, indie distributor A24 took action, donating a portion of its release 20th Century Women’s ticket sales to Planned Parenthood. The film brought in $3.5 million over the weekend- People

The shadow of Trump’s inauguration even invaded the concurrent Sundance Film Festival, which cheekily opened with Al Gore’s sequel to An Inconvenient Truth- Vox

Several Sundance filmmakers said their decisions were influenced by Trump’s election- Indiewire

A brief history of the esteemed American festival- Vox

Casey Affleck’s likely Best Actor win for Manchester by the Sea could be the first ever Oscar won by a streaming service — Amazon picked the movie up for $10 million at Sundance last year. Now, it and Netflix are back in Utah prowling for more- Reuters

Despite streaming services making all movies more accessible, fewer Sundance movies than ever are becoming hits- The New York Times

In a strictly cinematic controversy, viewers were outraged this week when behind the scenes footage from A Dog’s Purpose appeared to show a German Sheppherd being forced into artificial rapids for a stunt, which apparently pulled the dog under. The movie’s American Human Association representative responsible for on-set animal safety was suspended indefinitely and its Saturday premiere was cancelled- The New York Times

Disney made waves over the weekend by announcing the title of Star Wars: Episode VIII, which will be called The Last Jedi- Washington Post

The Wrap hopes this means the series will be abandoning Jedi entirely, taking the stories in a new direction- The Wrap

As this was happening, Rogue One crossed $1 billion internationally- The Hollywood Reporter

AMC theaters acquired the Nordic Cinema group for $929 million. The purchase will expand the theater chain’s already tight hold on Scandinavian movie houses- The Hollywood Reporter

Paramount Pictures, which has been in a heap of trouble over the past few years because of poor investments, received $1 billion investment from two Chinese production groups- Fortune

Ice Cube’s production company, Cube Vision, also received help from Hong Kong- The Hollywood Reporter

Is Matt Damon’s casting as the lead of Chinese historical epic The Great Wall pandering or whitewashing? The New York Times

Suicide Squad writer/director David Ayer has gone public with his second thoughts about the embattled film, agreeing with pretty much everyone on Earth that the movie should have had more Joker- Vox

Woody Harrelson performed an experiment last week when he live streamed a feature-length movie to certain theaters. How it went- Slate

Lily Collins, the star of Sundance anorexia drama To the Bone, opens up about her own struggle with eating disorders- Variety

Examining the work of the greatest living cinematographer Roger Deakins- Film School Rejects

And finally, a theory — Jack was never the caretaker of the Overlook- Film School Rejects

 

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