January isn't historically a month for big hit movies, but M. Night Shyamalan's Split has become just that. Packed with a surprising twist ending and an amazing performance from James McAvoy, the film rode high on critical reviews and has now won two box office weekends in a row. Looking at the numbers, it's a legitimate success story, and won that studios could actually learn a lot from.
Below and on the next few pages, we'll dig into what it is about Split that is legitimately special, and what the industry could take away from it as a whole. It should be noted that we will be heavily discussing the very end of the movie, so before we dig in...
SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains absolutely massive spoilers for the end of M. Night Shyamalan's Split. If you have not yet seen the film, and don't wish to know any details about the movie, please bookmark this link and return to this feature after your screening!
We Need More Outside The Box Sequels
Split didn't really need to be Unbreakable 2. Though certainly a bit dark and nihilistic in its conclusion, the movie does all come together as a complete and creepy thriller with a very strange protagonist/antagonist relationship. That being said, the pulpy sheen and genre change that the ending provides legitimately makes the film better as a whole, and it's a great choice that also spells exciting things for the future. It's also just a great example of a fresh way to create a sequel, and an approach that movie studios should be analyzing.
As M. Night Shyamalan has freely admitted, Split wasn't the easiest sell as a secret Unbreakable sequel, as it's clearly a powerful marketing angle that is just left on the table -- but Universal Pictures was willing to run with the idea, and it's clearly paid off in a big way. We're obviously not saying that every movie needs to be a clandestine follow-up to 17-year-old movies, but it certainly should be a clear example that there's many ways to approach and sell sequels in an age when they're being delivered to theaters practically every weekend.