James McAvoy and friends didn’t “split” from the number one spot this weekend, leaving Rings circling the drain and plenty of space between the top of the charts and our other newcomer, The Space Between Us. Let’s dive in and see why this Super Bowl weekend at the theaters was something short of a touchdown.

Shyamalan’s Split took the top of the box office for the third weekend in a row with $14.4 million and bringing its total gross to almost $99 million, which is 11 times its budget. Hopefully this is a message to studios to let Shyamalan do his own thing with a small budget, because it pays off far better than his abysmal expensive blockbuster attempts.

Riding on its coattails in the number two spot was Rings with $13 million on a $25 million budget. Reviews for this third film in the Ring franchise were almost entirely negative, which isn’t surprising at all if you’ve seen the trailer. If you ask me, we should’ve left this franchise in the well where it belongs because with how poorly this film did, it won’t even last seven days on the charts.

Our other newcomer, The Space Between Us, landed in the number nine spot with a mere $3.7 million and plenty of negative reviews. To be honest, I’m disappointed this didn’t do better since I love Asa Butterfield and I think the premise is cute, but if this really is like The Martian and The Fault in Our Stars had a baby, I guess it probably wouldn’t survive here on earth long…maybe it should’ve stayed on Mars.

All of this to say, I’m wagering that a certain sporting event kept audiences from the theater this weekend with plenty of party prep on Friday and Saturday, and lots of screaming at big screen televisions on Sunday. And with how rough the critical responses to these movies were, it couldn’t have worked out better.

Looking ahead to next week, Fifty Shades Darker beckons audiences to dark rooms across the country hoping to tie them to their seats with the steamy sequel to 2015’s Fifty Shades of Grey. This time, Ana and Christian are giving their relationship another round with a little less whipping and a little more, like, normal boring couple stuff. But when Christian’s past rears its ugly head, Ana has to decide whether dynamite shower sex is worth dealing with her dysfunctional Ken doll, or if she’s done with his drama once and for all.

Alright ladies, it’s time for the men to…you know…do men things. And this “man-thing” comes to us in the form of John Wick: Chapter 2, the sequel to the unexpected hit that was 2014’s John Wick starring Keanu Reeves as the title ass-kicker. This movie looks like it plans to deliver exactly what you’d expect: Keanu Reeves kicking and punching and shooting his way through Rome, blowing through bad guys while wearing a suit like an everyman James Bond. If crazy action b-movies are your thing, and you’re still hungry after xXx: Return of Xander Cage, parkour your way to the theater this weekend.

And lastly, the film I am by far the most excited about this weekend, The Lego Batman MovieThe Lego Movie came to us in 2014 and cashed in on our nostalgia while also providing one of the funnest, funniest times at the theater in recent memory. This spin-off focuses on Will Arnet’s Lego Batman as he deals with the lonely fame of being a superhero, the stresses of maintaining an obvious secret identity, and now raising Robin, voiced by Michael Cera, to be a side-kick that is already under his bat-skin. This movie looks hysterical, and with a jam-packed voice cast, beautiful animation, and an energy you’ll need candy and pop to keep up with, The Lego Batman Movie is my prediction for the number one film of next weekend.

With a perfect blend of counter-programming, and a made-up holiday on its way, I’d guess audiences will have themselves a crush on these newcomers and loooooove going to the movies this weekend.

-Adam Stutsman

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