Box office preview: Ride Along 2 to dethrone Star Wars: The Force Awakens | EW.com

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Box office preview: Ride Along 2 to dethrone Star Wars: The Force Awakens

(Quantrell D. Colbert/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ record-breaking run is coming to an end.

After The Force Awakens spent four weekends at No. 1, there’s a new box office contender in town, and Ride Along 2 is expected to top the charts this holiday weekend. Back in 2014, the first Ride Along set a record for the biggest Martin Luther King weekend opening ever, earning $48.6 million over four days. That record stood until last year, when American Sniper more than doubled it, earning $107.2 million when it expanded to wide release.

This time around, Ride Along 2 is opening in even more theaters (3,175 instead of Ride Along’s 2,663), and the sequel, starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart, is expected to debut somewhere in the forties — if not higher. Add that to the fact that Michael Bay’s 13 Hours is also opening — not to mention that The Revenant may actually bump Star Wars to third — and it should make for a busy MLK Day at the box office.

Here’s how this weekend’s box office race might play out. (All predictions are for the four-day weekend.)

1. Ride Along 2 — $40 million

Ride Along 2 picks up where the first one left off, with Ice Cube and Hart reprising their roles as a cop and his brother-in-law. Reviews have been pretty rough, with a current 15 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but that’s about what the original earned, and that didn’t detract from its box office performance. While Universal is being more conservative with a $30 million projection for Ride Along 2, other experts are predicting at least $40 million, if not $50.

2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens — $30 million

After breaking just about every box office record you can think of, The Force Awakens is sitting pretty with $822.8 million — the biggest domestic total of all time. But with Ride Along 2 on the horizon, it should give up its weekend box office crown for the first time. (Last Friday, The Revenant did manage to usurp Star Wars’ spot for one day.) J.J. Abram’s take on a galaxy far, far away is expected to earn about $30 million over the long weekend. Globally, The Force Awakens has hit $1.78 billion, making it the third-biggest movie of all time.

3. The Revenant — $29 million

After a successful limited run, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s survival drama expanded last weekend to earn a whopping $39.8 million, nearly dethroning Star Wars (which earned $42.4 million). This weekend, it’s expected to be just as close, and although The Force Awakens may hold on to its edge, there’s a chance that The Revenant could surpass it to earn second place. After all, the Leonardo DiCaprio-starring drama led this morning’s Oscar nominations with 12. Oscar nods generally give more of a bump to smaller movies —  expect a small surge for titles like Spotlight and Brooklyn — but all the Revenant buzz, coupled with DiCaprio’s recent Golden Globes win, might just help push The Revenant in front of Star Wars. So far, The Revenant has earned $54.1 million domestically.

4. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi — $20 million

Michael Bay’s latest tackles the true story of the 2012 terrorist attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya. Based on the book by Mitchell Zuckoff, 13 Hours stars John Krasinski, James Badge Dale, and Pablo Schreiber. With a 59 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, reviews have been mixed, and it’s expected to debut around $20 million over four days.

5. Daddy’s Home — $10 million

After opening on Christmas Day, Daddy’s Home was one of the December releases not to get swamped by Star Wars, and so far, it’s made more than $119 million domestically. It’s headed for a four-day MLK weekend around $10 million. 

Outside of the top five, Lionsgate’s family-friendly Norm of the North is also opening. Rob Schneider voices the titular polar bear in the animated comedy, and it’s headed for a debut somewhere around $5 million.