What could have been a cute movie tugging at your heart strings has turned into a controversial little flick that just isn't connecting with viewers at the box office.
A Dog's Purpose, mired in controversy over the film's mistreatment of dogs on set while shooting, came in far behind expectations this weekend at the box office, debuting to just $18.3 million from a little more than 3,000 theaters across North America.
In its place, Split — a sleeper hit directed by M. Night Shyamalan — came in first for the second straight weekend, taking in $26.3 million over the last three days and rising up to a two-week domestic total of about $78 million.
It's a good winner for Split, even if the other films opening this week were fairly light, but the real story here centers on A Dog's Purpose (pictured, above), and the Gavin Polone-produced flick that has been rocked after animal abuse allegations.
From a financial standpoint, A Dog's Purpose cost just $22 million to make, so it's still on track to get its money back and the financials are good — but the social damage done to what should have been a very popular, family-friendly feature film, cannot be understated.