It’s good to be Kevin Hart and Ice Cube this weekend. The increasingly ubiquitous Hart, who recently told EW that Ride Along is “my baby,” scored big with a $41.2 million opening weekend for the buddy-cop comedy. That should jump to an estimated $47.8 million when one factors in the Monday MLK Jr. holiday. Not only does the impressive haul surpass expectations for Universal’s leanly budgeted $25 million comedy, but it also breaks the record for a January opening. (If you’re still not sold on the Hart/Cube pairing, whose chemistry lifted the film to an “A” approval rating with CinemaScore audiences, let this stupendous spot on Conan give you a taste of their chemistry.)
Universal folks have further reason to thrust their chests out this weekend. Buoyed by rapturous word of mouth, the studio’s real-SEAL heart-thumper Lone Survivor dropped just 38 percent to deliver an impressive $23.2 million in its fourth weekend. Director Peter Berg, whose Battleship bombed so badly, made Lone Survivor for $40 million and now can boast about a $74 million domestic total.
Sliding into the No. 3 spot is Open Road Films’ animated The Nut Job. With families looking for holiday entertainment, The Nut Job should swap places with Lone Survivor by the end of Monday. The squirrel comedy, which earned a solid “B” rating from CinemaScore audiences, managed to outperform its modest expectations.
Alas, the same can’t be said for Paramount’s stab at rebooting its Jack Ryan franchise, with Star Trek actor Chris Pine playing the action-hero CIA agent who’s previously been played by the likes of Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, which the studio made for $60 million, debuts at a rather limp No. 4 with just $17.2 million. A “B” CinemaScore rating shouldn’t do much to attract moviegoers distracted by all the Oscar-nominated films they want to see before the big show. That said, Shadow Recruit fared better overseas, with $22.2 million from only half of the international markets.
Frozen hung on in the No. 5 spot, with Disney’s domestic kitty now totaling nearly $333 million. But hot on its heels was American Hustle, which earned 10 Oscar nominations and last night walked away with a SAG award for best ensemble cast. David O. Russell’s caper, starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence, enjoyed a 28 percent jump with a $10.6 million haul in its sixth weekend; its total gross rose to $116.4 million. The Meryl Streep/Julia Roberts family drama August: Osage County likewise enjoyed a jump in box office to $7.6 million as it more than doubled its theater count to 2,051; its cume stands at nearly $18.2 million.
The only other other notable new release is Devil’s Due, Eli Roth’s found-footage horror movie that was hoping to benefit from its mega-viral “Devil Baby” campaign. The film failed to crack the top 5 and earned a dismal “D+” CinemaScore rating. That’s a bleak showing, and yet the $7 million film already recouped its investment with an $8.5 million debut.
The top five:
1. Ride Along — $41.2 million
2. Lone Survivor — $23.2 million
3. The Nut Job — $20.55 million
4. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit — $17.2 million
5. Frozen— $12 million