It’s no easy task getting people to the theaters on Super Bowl weekend. But Universal’s Ride Along managed to cruise right on by new releases such as That Awkward Moment and Labor Day for its third straight weekend in the top spot, earning an estimated $12 million and bringing its total to $93 million.
The takeaway from this will surely be that of the bankable talents of Kevin Hart. The comedian has long lent a helping hand in films (Think Like a Man, This is the End) to say nothing of his popular stand-up specials. His easy chemistry with Ice Cube helped lift Ride Along to an “A” approval rating with CinemaScore and this seems to be the movie that will finally push Hart into a new stratosphere of stardom. (Personally, I’m very excited for Hart to join Louis C.K. in an a yet untitled animated film from the creator of Despicable Me. Hart will be playing a bunny, Snowball, who is the leader of abandoned pets.)
And that’s not the only good news for Universal: Lone Survivor, directed by Peter Berg and starring Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch and Emile Hirsch, crossed the $100 million dollar mark this weekend, making an additional $7.2 million.
Meanwhile, Focus’s That Awkward Moment was unable to squeak past Ride Along and Frozen, coming in at No. 3 for the weekend, with an estimated $9 million. Audiences seem to like the film – giving it a CinemaScore of ”B” – and there’s no question that we’ll be seeing a lot more of the cast, which includes Fruitvale Station’s Michael B. Jordan, Zac Ephron, and Miles Teller. (Teller, in particular is having a great 2014 so far, coming off the very buzzy Sundance hit Whiplash, and will be seen in this March’s Divergent.)
The other new release, Paramount Pictures and Indian Paintbrush’s Labor Day, was basically ignored, making just $5.3 million at approximately 2500 locations. Written and directed by Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air) the film, starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin and budged at $18 million, came in a dreary seventh place. Can this disappointing showing be blamed on the countless peach pie jokes that critics made?
But it was great news this weekend for animated films. First, there’s Disney’s Frozen, which snagged second place for the weekend. In its 10th week of wide release, the film debuted its Sing-Along shows – a bouncing snowflake encouraging repeat viewers to sing the songs’ lyrics – in 2,057 of the 2, 754 locations. This option no doubt help bring in fans, and has now helped the film earn over $360 million nationwide. Even Anna Kendrick appears to be a fan, tweeting, “When and where are auditions for Broadway version of FROZEN? (am only interest in the role Olaf.)”
And then there’s Open Road’s The Nut Job, which took the No. 4 spot this weekend, earning $7.6 million in its third week of release, bringing its total gross so far to over $50 million. Squirrels succeeding on Groundhog’s Day seems only appropriate. (Special points for the tagline: “No nuts, no glory.)
Here’s the top five:
1. Ride Along—$12.3 million
2. Frozen—$9.3 million
3. That Awkward Moment—$9 million
4. The Nut Job—$7.6 million
5. Lone Survivor—$7.2 million