Monday, January 18, 2016

Ride Along 2 Knocks Star Wars From The Top Of The Box Office, While 13 Hours Fizzles Out

And so, the box office reign of Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes to a close, after it was number one at the box office for four straight weeks, becoming the third film in the past nine months (after Furious Seven and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part One) to stay at the top for that exact length of time. What beat it out? The new Kevin Hart/Ice Cube comedy Ride Along 2, which debuted with a solid $35.3 million, about 15% below the opening of the original film. That's a bigger opening weekend than any comedy in 2015, sans the $38.7 million bow of Daddy's Home.

While Universal was certainly hoping this one could go the distance and improve substantially on its predecessor ala 22 Jump Street or Pitch Perfect 2, a live-action comedy sequel performing like that is the exception rather than the rule. In fact, recent years have delivered a number of sequels to comedies that have performed substantially worse than their predecessors, including Hot Tub Time Machine 2, Ted 2, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, Red 2, Grown Ups 2, Sex And The City 2 and Dumb And Dumber To. The fact that Ride Along 2 was able to retain that much of its predecessor is a testament to the star power of Kevin Hart and Ice Cube.

Ride Along 2 will likely conclude its domestic box office run just under or over $100 million, so I doubt we see Ride Along 3 since there's nowhere to go but down in terms of domestic box office performance. Still, this is a solid enough box office performance that'll likely get overshadowed by Kevin Harts other 2016 film, Central Intelligence, whose trailer plays like gangbusters every time I see it in a movie theater.

I don't think I ever would have thought, like, three years ago an Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu movie would be a breakout domestic box office smash hit, but that's what we got on our hands with The Revenant, which scored 12 Oscar nominations that certainly boosted its already impressive profile, leading to a tiny 20% decline and a $31.8 million second weekend. The Leonarod DiCaprio feature has now taken in $89.9 million domestically, and may be making a run for $150 million by the end of its domestic box office journey. Looks like that $135 million budget was well spent.

In third place was Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which got knocked out of the top spot at the box office but still remained a major player, dipping 37% this frame while nabbing another $26.3 million over the 3-day frame. That's the fourth best fifth weekend take of all-time, behind Avatar ($42.7 million), Titanic ($30 million) and Frozen ($28.5 million). It's now taken in $852.3 million domestically, good enough to outdo the adjusted for inflation gross of Empire Strikes Back ($845.3 million) and has also crossed $1 billion internationally.

13 Hours: The Secret Of Soldiers came into fourth place with only $16.2 million, waaaay behind the wide release debuts of Lone Survivor ($37.8 million) and American Sniper ($89.2 million), and only 12% ahead of the opening weekend of Green Zone. In terms of Michael Bay movie opening weekends, it's his third lowest debut, only ahead of Bad Boys ($15.5 million) and The Island ($12.4 million). 13 Hours was never gonna hit the heights of past January military themed pictures like the aforementioned Lone Survivor and American Sniper, namely because it lacked a big name like Mark Wahlberg and Bradley Cooper. The fact that the picture centered on a group of soldiers instead of just one famous figure like Chris Kyle might have also been a challenge presented by the marketing, which never gave clear characters for the audience to invest in.

Another new release could be found in sixth place, Norm Of The North. A feature that Rotten Tomatoes dubs "A pioneering feat in the field of twerking polar bear animation..." grossed only $6.8 million this weekend, a bow putting it, in the realm of computer animated features, just ahead of the opening weekends of Astro Boy ($6.7 million) and Happily N'Ever After ($6.6 million). While the past two years have had solid family movie hits like The Nut Job and Paddington released over Martin Luther King Jr. day weekends, Norm Of The North was pretty much doomed to make far than those pictures form the start.

It's sloppy animation made it look visually unpleasing in the advertisements, while the absolutely abysmal reviews resulting in a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes made sure to drive away any and all adults who may have seen it. Frankly, the lack of major family movies in the marketplace and the holiday weekend likely led it to making far more than it would have on any other weekend. Look for this one to not stick around for long, especially with Kung Fu Panda 3 on the way in two weeks.

Perhaps the biggest surprise in terms of box office this weekend was the second weekend decline of The Forest, which lost only 53% in its second weekend, grossing an additional $6 million over the past three days. That's a way better hold than other early January horror movies like The Woman In Black 2 (69%) and Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (66%), indicating the film might have some above average word-of-mouth with audience. This one will take a major hit when The Boy (another PG-13 horror film) arrives this weekend, but considering the tiny price tag on this one, this is a solid performance. The Forest has now taken in $21.3 million domestically.

Hot off the Oscar nominations announcements, a number of Best Picture nominees expanded their theater count to take advantage of their awards glory. The Big Short actually lost 764 theaters this frame, but only eased 15% for a $5.3 million weekend haul and a total domestic gross thus far of $50.6 million. In thirteenth place, Brooklyn returned to wide release (687 theaters to be precise) to solid results, grossing $1.77 million for a per theater average of $2,576. Brooklyn has now grossed $24.7 million domestically. Right behind Brooklyn in fourteenth place was Spotlight, which leaped back into 985 theaters for a $1,675 per theater average and an OK weekend gross of $1.65 million. this Tom McCarthy film has now taken in $30.6 million domestically.

After taking in nominations for Best Picture and Best Actress, as well as a hugely surprising (but most deserving in this writers personal opinion) Best Director nod, Room expanded to its widest theater count ever, into 293 theaters for a weekend sum of $700,000 and a per theater average of $2,389. This Lenny Abrahamason feature has now taken in $5.9 million domestically. Meanwhile, Carol finally went into wide release, into 790 theaters to be precise. Such a move was obviously done to capitalize on a potential Best Picture nomination, but alas, that didn't transpire for the film, leaving it overshadowed by a large number of dramas in the marketplace. This led to it take in only $1.45 million over the weekend for a per theater average of only $1,846 and carrying a current domestic box office total of $9.1 million.

The Top 12 this weekend grossed $151 million, down 18% from the same weekend last year when American Sniper obliterated all January box office records.

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