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Weekend Box Office: Ride Along 2 Opens On Top, Revenant Holds Strong, Star Wars Dethroned

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By Chris Kavan - 01/17/16 at 07:46 PM CT

It was going to be the weekend Star Wars fell, the only question remaining was which film was going to manage the feat? It was two movies - Ride Along 2, as expected, took the top spot and, thanks to a load of Academy Award nominations, The Revenant also topped the space epic. Michael Bay didn't find an American Sniper audience with 13 Hours while the poorly-reviewed Norm of the North still managed a decent opening. All told, it won't be a record Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend, but it's not going to look too shabby, either.


The original Ride Along also opened up on the MLK, Jr weekend and earned a then-record $42.5 million / $48.6 four-day opening total. Kevin Hart and Ice Cube return for the sequel (along with new faces including Olivia Munn, Benjamin Bratt and Ken Jeong) and while it will fall short of the original, it's still going to make a good deal of money. Ride Along 2 opened to the tune of $34 million for the weekend and an estimated $39.5 million for the holiday frame. Now, this is a sequel budged at just $40 million, so it is obvious that even if it falls short of the original, it will still make plenty of money. Comedy sequels often fall short of the first film and Ride Along 2 is no exception. If it plays along the lines of Think Like a Man Too or Anchorman 2 - it should wind up around the $100 million mark. It marks a good winning streak for director Tim Story (who also directed (Think Like a Man Too ) and why mess with a good thing when it works? I expect this to play well, even with Dirty Grandpa coming in to muscle on the comedy genre next weekend.


Holding on to its second-place spot for the second weekend in a row, Alejandro G. Iñárritu's The Revenant managed a very good hold, dropping just 25.9% in its second weekend. That is an exceptional hold for this kind of gritty drama - even better than American Sniper (which dipped 27.6% in its second frame). That means the boatload of Golden Globe wins and Oscar nominations obviously paid off and people are even more interested to see how this plays out. The film brought in $29.5 million (with an estimate of $35 million for the four-day holiday) and should wind up with total over the $93 million mark by Monday's end. For Leonardo DiCaprio it is good news and the film, riding the wave of publicity, could wind up as one of his most profitable yet. Surely it will top the $116 million of Wolf and Wall Street as well as Shutter Island at $128 million and The Departed at $132 million. Depending on how it comes out on the big awards night, it could even catch up to Django Unchained ($162 million) and Catch Me If You Can ($164 million) though those two may still be out of reach. One thing is for certain, the bleak, brutal drama isn't going to find it hard to top its $134 million budget and represents on of the high water marks for everyone involved.


With Ride Along 2 getting the new crowd and The Revenant capturing the awards crowd, Star Wars: The Force Awakens finally had to give up its four-week crown. Dropping 40.7% in its fifth weekend out, the mega-blockbuster took in $25.1 million ($31 million estimated for the holiday) and should wind up with about $857 million for after Monday. On the worldwide front, the film crossed the $1 billion mark and now stands as the fifth-largest international film of all time and only the fifth to cross the $1 billion mark. It will soon pass both Jurassic World and Furious 7 on that list and should still have no problem becoming only the third film in history to hit $2 billion total (domestic and international). Though it took a hit in China, it still stands a good chance of catching Titanic before it winds down. Even on the all-time adjusted for inflation chart, it stands at 12th - with plenty more steam ahead, it should be able to break into the top 10. I wish it would have been nominated for more awards, but I'll take what I can get at this point.


Even though January of late has been a great place for patriotic/military-themed films, Michael Bay just couldn't find the love for 13 Hours as other recent films. The $16 million opening (projected $19 million holiday weekend) is going to fall well short of the $110 million American Sniper and the $37 million of Lone Survivor. In fact, it's playing much closer to Act of Valor ($24 million opening) though it even fell short of that mark. In short, Bay's 13 Hours, though budgeted at a light $50 million, is going to have a tough time breaking even and will have to hope for some decent international support to stay out of the red. For Bay it represents the first film since The Island in 2005 to open with under $20 million for opening weekend. If it can't sustain an audience it has a chance to lose steam and wind up with less than the $49.8 million Pain and Gain brought in back in 2013. A disappointment to be sure, as I thought it had enough potential to challenge the top spot. It just goes to show that just because you dress up a film in red, white and blue that it will draw the audience you want.


Dropping a couple spots, Daddy's Home still managed to hold on to a spot in the top five with a $9.3 million weekend ($11.3 expected for the holiday) and a new total around the $131 million mark. It managed another good hold, dropping just over 38% in its fourth weekend. That means it will pass both Lone Survivor ($125 million) and Anchorman 2 ($127 million) by Monday. It also means the comedy, with a $50 million budget, it also looking at tripling its return, as $150 million now seems very likely and for stars Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, it will represent some of their highest-grossing work to date.

Outside the top five: Norm of the North, despite some withering reviews, managed to nearly break into the to five, but had to settle for sixth place with $6.7 million (around $8.8 including Monday). Considering the film was bound to be direct-to-video at one point, one could argue this opening justified a theatrical release. It's not going to break any records nor set the family market on fire, but it should wind up with a good enough chunk of change that everyone involved shouldn't feel too bad about themselves.

Other big winners following the awards nominations include Spotlight (making the jump from 17th to 14th place with $1.5 million and a 67% gain in audience), Brooklyn (moving from 16th to 13th place with $1.66 million and adding over 57% to its crowd) and Carol (held on to 15th place after dipping a very light 7% with a $1.38 million weekend). Spotlight is the highest-grossing film of the bunch at $30.5 million. Brooklyn now sits at $24.6 million while Carol now has just over $9 million. We'll see if the upcoming awards continue to shape the box office in the coming weeks.

Next week we have the comedy Dirty Grandpa, horror film The Boy and latest attempt to corner the YA crowd with The 5th Wave.


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