Weekend Box Office Report: January 17-19, 2014

Ride Along drives away with the dough!

I guess you could say it was a good day for Ice Cube, whose new movie RIDE ALONG opened at the top of the box office with an estimated $41.2 million!

Fans of miniature comic Kevin Hart came out to see his pairing with appropriately winter-themed actor-rapper Ice Cube, pushing the PG-13 flick to the biggest January opening weekend ever (beating CLOVERFIELD's $40 million opening in 2008) -- and it did it on several hundred fewer screens than the weekend's other big new movies. (All the releases will get a bonus day of big business thanks to Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.)

Moviegoers were obviously looking for some laughs to help warm up the frosty season, and audiences enjoyed their time with the surprise hit, giving it a solid 'A' CinemaScore (although critics were not amused judging by the 16% at Rotten Tomatoes). But the cop comedy from Cube's BARBERSHOP director Tim Story (who also helmed the FANTASTIC FOUR movies) only carried a reported cost of $25 million, so we can expect a sequel announcement at any moment...

LONE SURVIVOR stoically demonstrated its survival skills in second place with $23.2 million, a drop of only 38% from its wide opening last weekend. The total for Peter Berg's military action movie has already surpassed the last time Navy SEALs were front-and-center on screen -- ACT OF VALOR ended with $70 million, though it also didn't have the benefit of familiar and experienced actors like Mark Wahlberg and Ben Foster. (With the top two movies in release, Universal must be cheering at the moment.)

Opening in third was the new computer-animated offering THE NUT JOB with $20.5 million. The critter heist movie (which got a 'B' CinemaScore from paying crowds) was the only family option for everyone who's already seen FROZEN in the nine weeks since it first skated into theaters, although Disney's new fave chilled in fifth with another $11.9 million as its global total surged to $759 million.

It seems questionable if actor Chris Pine has found a non-TREK franchise with Tom Clancy's famous CIA analyst -- JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT opened in fourth place with $17.2 million. Critics liked the action-thriller (61% on RT) better than audiences, who gave it a mediocre 'B' CinemaScore.

The latest reboot of the Ryan character, directed by Kenneth Branagh (who also plays the villain), did only have a reported budget of $60 million. So perhaps if the international totals are impressive enough, Paramount might give Pine another leading opportunity outside Starfleet.

Getting a bump from the Oscar nomination attention, AMERICAN HUSTLE disco danced in sixth with another $10.6 million (jumping up 27% from last weekend), keeping it ahead of the new low-budget horror movie DEVIL'S DUE with its $8.5 million opening. While January has proven a good time for horror releases (TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D, MAMA and HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS all scored in this month last year), there wasn't much interest in this star-free supernatural cheapie -- and the customers it did attract only slammed it with a dreadful 'D+' CinemaScore.

Oscar-recognized films AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY (now on 2000 screens) and THE WOLF OF WALL STREET closed out the list along with Oscar-ignored SAVING MR. BANKS, while again hovering just outside the chart was Spike Jonze's wondrously odd romance HER with $4 million. THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG saw its last days on the chart, along with PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES, ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES, and after a single week in the Top 10, THE LEGEND OF HERCULES.

Next weekend only offers one new wide release, the Aaron Eckhart monster-hunting action flick I, FRANKENSTEIN (or as it's known in Spanish-speaking territories: YO, FRANKENSTEIN). Also beginning on Tuesday, the long-delayed comedy THE KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM opens on random screens around the country if you can find it.

What is your favorite Ice Cube role? VOTE HERE!

1. Ride Along $41.2 M
2. Lone Survivor $23.2 M $74 M
3. The Nut Job $20.5 M
4. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit $17.2 M
5. Frozen $11.9 M $332.6 M
6. American Hustle $10.6 M $116.4 M
7. Devil's Due $8.5 M
8. August: Osage County $7.5 M $18.1 M
9. The Wolf of Wall Street $7.5 M $90.2 M
10. Saving Mr. Banks $4.1 M $75.3 M


Source: Box Office Mojo



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