‘A Dog’s Purpose’ opens to $18.4 million amid controversy

This image released by Universal studios shows Bryce Gheisar in a scene from "A Dog's Purpose." (Joe Lederer/Universal Studios via AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — “A Dog’s Purpose” has underperformed slightly at the box office as it opened in theaters amid controversy over animal treatment on set and calls for a boycott.

Based on early projections, the family film was expected to open in the mid $20-million range, but studio estimates Sunday indicated it took in $18.4 million for a second-place start.

Yet it’s hardly a bomb for a movie that cost only $22 million to produce.

First place went again to M. Night Shyamalan’s multiple personality thriller “Split.” It grossed $26.3 million, representing a 34 percent drop from its first weekend.

Rounding out the top five were “Hidden Figures” with $14 million, new opener “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” with $13.9 million, and “La La Land,” which has now earned over $100 million.

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