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Shyamalan thriller ‘Split’ claims US box office crown

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 18: Director, writer, producer M. Night Shyamalan and Bhavna Vaswani and daughters attend "Split" New York Premiere at SVA Theater on January 18, 2017 in New York City. Matthew Eisman/Getty Images/AFP Matthew Eisman / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

NEW YORK, NY – JANUARY 18: Director, writer, producer M. Night Shyamalan and Bhavna Vaswani and daughters attend “Split” New York Premiere at SVA Theater on January 18, 2017 in New York City. Matthew Eisman/Getty Images/AFP Matthew Eisman / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

“Split,” a thriller about a man who imprisons three teenage girls in an underground bunker, debuted as the top ticket seller at North American movie houses, preliminary Hollywood figures showed on Sunday.

The protagonist in the film is afflicted with a personality disorder, with one particularly violent alter ego known as “The Beast.”

The movie — directed by M. Night Shyamalan, the Indian American director also responsible for the “Sixth Sense” and other films in the horror genre — grossed an estimated $40.2 million, box office tracker Exhibitor Relations said.

A Vin Diesel action flick, “xXx: Return of Xander Cage,” opened in second place with about $20 million in anticipated box office receipts.

The car-chase, sex-laden vehicle is the third movie in the Xander Cage franchise and the second to star muscleman Diesel.

“Hidden Figures,” a story about three black women mathematicians who helped NASA put the first men in space, ended its two-week run as the number one film and was in third place this weekend, selling $16.25 million in tickets.

The Fox film, a biographical comedy-drama based on a book of the same name, stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae, whose characters must deal with workplace segregation in the 1950s and 1960s.

Universal’s animated musical “Sing” was in fourth place with a $9.0 million take over the weekend.

In fifth place was “La La Land,” a nostalgic tribute to the Golden Age of Hollywood musicals. It earned an estimated $8.4 million this weekend after garnering a boatload of accolades, including eight Golden Globes earlier this month.

Rounding out the Top 10 are:

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” ($7.0 million)

“Monster Trucks” ($7.0 million)

“Patriots Day” ($6.0 million)

“The Founder” ($3.8 million)

“Sleepless” ($3.7 million)

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