Heading into the month and even the weekend, it was destined to be writer and director M. Night Shyamalan's month. GLASS, his latest film starring Samuel L. Jackson, James McAvoy, & Bruce Willis in a grounded, superhero crossover, was expected to be a massive hit, with most analysts predicting that it would open to 50 million with optimistic expectations in the range of 60-70 million. However, most likely due to a poor reception from both audiences and critics, a dangerous combination for a film's financial prospects, the film fell shockingly short with just a 40 million opening weekend over the three-day period, marking a 20% decline from even the lowest of industry expectations. But while GLASS continued to fizz and gain little traction at the multiplex, Kevin Hart's THE UPSIDE continued on strong from last weekend, where it unexpectedly overtook AQUAMAN for the top spot.
In first place for the weekend was of course GLASS, even if it underperformed by most expectations. But while the final number may not be to the liking of the filmmakers, the film will still surely turn a profit for Shyamalan who actually self-funded the 20 million production budget, giving him full creative range. And it seems that it was the unlimited creative power and his use of it that turned people off and had audiences who would once flock in droves to see how the highly anticipated crossover would play out, just stay home and wait for its eventual arrival on streaming. By CinemaScore, the most trustworthy audience aggregate source, GLASS earned a "B," a score directly comparable to that of 2016's BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE, a film that was similarly divisive and underperformed massively as well. Even though the rest of January may be clear of hardline competition, GLASS may still shatter quickly, with most projectionists shifting their predictions next weekend to accommodate for a potential dismal drop for Shyamalan's latest effort. But while critics and audiences were anything but kind to the film, we found the film to be an experience that "...propels itself past its naysayers into something new and fresh with ideas" in our review. GLASS is playing in theaters now.
(This portion is taken from the previous published HBB Reviews article "Box Office Report (January 18-20): GLASS Nearly Shatters w/ Debut, THE UPSIDE Continues Strong," the full article of which can be found here).