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Glass Tracking For $100M+ Worldwide Opening

M. Night Shyamalan's Glass appears to be headed for a beast of an opening weekend.

Industry analysts are reporting that the third installment in the "Eastrail 177 Trilogy" is expected to bring in a haul in the $105-$120 million dollar range over the coming Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, according to Deadline. The film is a direct sequel to Shyamalan's surprise 2017 hit Split, which revealed itself at its conclusion to be a continuation of the story begun by the filmmaker with his 2000 superhero drama Unbreakable

For those unfamiliar, a little background: the trilogy's name comes from the catastrophic train derailment depicted near the beginning of Unbreakable, of which security guard David Dunn (Bruce Willis) was the sole survivor. Dunn is taken under the wing of mysterious comic book enthusiast Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), who believes Dunn to be a literal superhero, and he's right — but every hero needs an arch-nemesis. The film's twist ending revealed that the wheelchair-bound Price is actually the villainous Mr. Glass (so named because he suffers from a condition that causes his bones to be as brittle as... well, you get the idea). Price orchestrated the train derailment, as well as numerous other disasters, in an attempt to find his heroic foil, which he did in Dunn.

Split presented itself as the standalone story of Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), a man suffering the the world's most intense case of Dissociative Identity Disorder. Within Crumb's noggin lie 23 distinct personalities, some a great deal more malevolent than others — along with a mysterious 24th personality known only as "The Beast." The film's events see Crumb kidnap and hold prisoner three teenage girls, who must search for a way out of his lair — and fight for their lives — as the Beast draws ever nearer. When it finally manifests, Crumb is endowed with superhuman strength and durability, making short work of his prey — but he spares the life of one of his victims, Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy) after he recognizes her as a fellow survivor of abuse. As the film concludes, concerned patrons of a diner watch a news report about Crumb, whom the media has dubbed "The Horde." As one man tries to remember the moniker of another so-called supervillain who had made the news years prior, the camera pulls back to reveal Willis as David Dunn, who reminds him that it was Mr. Glass.

Split was a very good film, and its success would have likely generated a sequel even without the connection to Unbreakable. But the reveal, which prompted startled gasps followed by enthusiastic fist-pumping from the many fans who consider the 2000 film to be among Shyamalan's finest work, all but guaranteed a third installment. Anticipation for Glass has been steadily rising since its announcement, and a succession of three increasingly bonkers trailers have only heightened fans' enthusiasm.

The one lone bummer in all this: so far, advance critical reactions to Glass have been, well, split. The flick currently stands at 37% on Rotten Tomatoes, but there are a couple things to keep in mind here. First, Unbreakable itself confused many critics upon its initial release, only retroactively having come to be seen as ahead of its time (and, significantly, ahead of the superhero cinema craze which currently dominates the pop culture landscape). Second, critics going into Glass expecting a straightforward superhero yarn of the type to which we've become accustomed are bound to leave the theater scratching their heads. Shyamalan is a filmmaker who revels in subtextual commentary about the nature of his craft, and expecting Glass to be a Marvel-style superhero throwdown would be a mistake. Some critics have complained that too much of the action is confined to the mental hospital in which its three principals are confined (seemingly forgetting that Split was similarly claustrophobic), while others criticized Shyamalan for leaving too much to the imagination (likewise forgetting that this very tendency is part of what made Unbreakable so special). 

By and large, describing a film as having been made "for the fans, not the critics," can generally be taken to mean that it simply isn't any good — but in the case of Glass, the description might actually fit. Those critics who gave the flick positive notices found it to be a natural progression of the story told by the first two films, a well-made picture similar in feel to Unbreakable and featuring a performance (or rather, a bevy of performances) for the ages by McAvoy.

Critical reception aside, the dearth of competition (the Kevin Hart-starrer The Upside even had its release date moved up specifically to avoid competing with it) and frenzied level of anticipation for Glass just might result in the picture presenting a serious challenge to the current MLK weekend champ, 2014's American Sniper. That film opened to a $107 million dollar take in its opening frame, a figure which Glass seems poised to, well, shatter. The flick opens this Friday, January 18.