Box Office: Ride Along Keeps Riding High, Audiences Pass On I, Frankenstein

No surprise at which film finished first place over the weekend. For those who thought Aaron Eckhart’s I, Frankenstein had a chance of dethroning Ride Along, well, you’re best bet is to take your chances to the nearest casino – I hear they take cash. The Kevin Hart/Ice Cube comedy repeated atop the box office chart for the second consecutive week. Poor reviews be damned, audiences just love Kevin Hart. While every film in the top ten took nominal drops in viewership (minus the new Eckhart release, of course), the buddy comedy only dropped 49%. That may sound like a lot, but considering the film had a $41.5 million opening last week, has a $25 million budget and has already crossed $75 million, I’m thinking Universal will survive. $100 million is pretty much a definite in a few weeks time, and with sequel talk already this will probably be a big rental/seller when it hits prior to the major summer releases.

Battling for silver was the patriotic Lone Survivor and the animated The Nut Job. Only a few hundred thousand separate the two, with the military thriller with $12.6 million while the nutty squirrels have $12.3 million. Outside of the top three, every thing else in the Top 10 was seven-digit territory. Frozen continues to play strong and should be getting a boost once Disney unleashes the sing-along version in theaters Super Bowl Weekend. (Keep the kids and wife happy on Saturday and Dad owns Sunday.)

Audiences still aren’t sold on Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (frankly, there wasn’t anything “shadowy” about JR’s recruitment) as it dropped to fifth with $8.8 million. It is passable entertainment, but it aspires to be a cross between James Bond, Jason Bourne and Ethan Hunt (that’s the Mission: Impossible franchise for those who don’t remember Tom Cruise’s character name).

The lone new release in the Top 10, I, Frankenstein ($8.2 million), barely screened for critics during the week (never a good sign). For my neck of the woods (Houston, TX) it screened at a theater way outside my range that caters to a mostly Hispanic demographic – you think Spanish speakers call the film “Yo, Frankenstein”? Just because the property is from the producers of Underworld doesn’t mean same audience numbers. Plus, unless your producer name is Jerry Bruckheimer, chances are most don’t know who you are, anyway.

The big news for box office was for those films on the Road to Oscar. Spots 7-9 were filled by Academy Award contenders American Hustle, August: Osage County and The Wolf of Wall Street, respectively. In smaller release, 12 Years a Slave, Nebraska, Dallas Buyers Club and the return of Gravity all saw a boost in attendance.

The forthcoming weekend has Labor Day and That Awkward Moment. The first is from Oscar nominee Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air) and the second stars two rising talents (Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan) along with Zac Efron. Comedy looks like it has potential but that may be on account of the laughs in ads and not overall. We shall see. Full top ten below.

1. Ride Along (Universal) – $21,162,000 ($75,407,000)
2. Lone Survivor (Universal) – $12,601,000 ($93,615,000)
3. The Nut Job (Open Road Films) – $12,316,000 ($40,271,000)
4. Frozen (Buena Vista) – $9,035,000 ($347,816,000)
5. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (Paramount) – $8,800,000 ($30,168,000)
6. I, Frankenstein (Lionsgate) – $8,275,000
7. American Hustle (Sony) – $7,100,000 ($127,039,000)
8. August: Osage County (The Weinstein Company) – $5,041,000 ($26,527,000)
9. The Wolf of Wall Street (Paramount) – $5,000,000 ($98,030,000)
10. Devil’s Due (Fox) – $2,750,000 ($12,886,000)

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