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Shyamalan's Glass tops the box office

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Above: (from left) Samuel L Jackson, James McAvoy and Bruce Willis in Glass, the final instalment of a trilogy by M Night Shyamalan.

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Above: (from left) James McAvoy, Bruce Willis and Samuel L Jackson at the premiere of Glass at the SVA Theatre on Jan 15 in New York City.

New York

FOR a weekend dominated by M Night Shyamalan, there weren't too many twists at the box office.

Universal's Glass, a superhero successor to director Shyamalan's Unbreakable and Split that stars Samuel L Jackson, Bruce Willis and James McAvoy, sold an estimated US$40.6 million in tickets during its first weekend in North American theatres, easily topping the chart at the end of a relatively quiet week.

Glass completes a trilogy that started in 2000 with Unbreakable, a superhero thriller that introduced audiences to David Dunn (Willis), a football player-turned-security guard with superhuman abilities, and Elijah Price (Jackson), a comic-book theorist.

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While that film was successful at the box office and has since developed a cult following, its sales were modest compared with those of Shyamalan's previous blockbuster, The Sixth Sense, which was the second-highest-grossing movie of 1999.

With Glass, Universal was likely hoping to combine the cult status of Unbreakable with the box-office momentum created by Split, which came out in early 2017. The latter movie, which stars McAvoy as a kidnapper with multiple personalities, was a surprise hit, making about US$138.3 million domestically during its time in theatres against a production budget of just US$9 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

Split made about US$40 million during its opening weekend, so Glass is performing comparably - though it seems unlikely that the movie will wildly outpace Split, particularly given mixed reviews from critics. (Glass has a 36 per cent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.)

In her review for The New York Times, Manohla Dargis called the movie "enjoyable" but wrote that its "air of misterioso quiet and encroaching, consuming terror give way to manly growling, jaw-clenching and vein-popping, and everything falls to pieces in a poorly conceptualised and staged blowout".

STX's The Upside - which was No 1 in ticket sales last weekend despite the controversy surrounding Kevin Hart, one of its stars - came in second place with about US$15.7 million, according to Comscore, which compiles box-office data.

Aside from Glass, the only other newcomer in the top five was Funimation's Dragon Ball Super: Broly, a Japanese animé movie and the latest entry in the long-running Dragon Ball franchise, which made US$8.7 million during its opening weekend to finish fourth. NYTIMES