It had to happen at some point when the box-office results in North America would not show Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the summit. The fact that it took five weeks before someone could eventually move above this gigantic space movie is a testament to the greatness and popularity of the Star Wars flick. The movie that now holds the distinction of being the one to topple Star Wars is the comedy starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart, Ride Along 2. The sequel to the 2014 hit – and by hit I mean earning $154 million on a $25 million production budget – opened with $34 million over the weekend. How does it compare to the first movie? Well, the production budget has gone up from $25 million to $40 million while the opening weekend collections have fallen from $41.5 million to $34 million. So it ain’t that great. Ride Along 2 was something that the studio had to come out with, such are the times we live in, as the surprise massive success of Ride Along could not have been ignored. With a 14% score on Rottentomatoes, this one ain’t for the critics, but considering that the audience has dwindled too, we may not be hearing of a Ride Along 3. Kevin Hart definitely has much better things on his platter. Nonetheless, Ride Along 2 should eventually earn above $100 million which would provide some decent return on investment, though not as superlative as its predecessor.
Michael Bay’s 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi had a disappointing $16 million weekend collection. Even though no one was looking for the kind of numbers that a Transformers movie opens with, even this figure is low for a movie with a $50 million production budget. Lacking any real star power and with the skepticism that surrounds Bay’s work (outside the Transformers fan base), it ain’t surprising that 13 Hours had a disappointing start. Speaking of disappointments, the animated movie Norm of the North, distributed by Lionsgate, barely managed to earn $6.7 million on the weekend. What more could you expect from a movie with a 0% Rottentomatoes score!? The production budget is said to be $18 million, and so the losses would not be too enormous.
The Revenant which is now getting more attention after Leonardo DiCaprio’s Golden Globe win, and Oscar nominations for DiCaprio, Tom Hardy and director Alejandro González Iñárritu, dropped by only 26% this weekend. The movie has earned $152 million worldwide so far, and will be crossing $100 million in North America in a day or two, though it needs more global attention if it wants to make profits on its $135 million production budget. Star Wars: The Force Awakens achieved yet another milestone over the weekend, crossing $1 billion from overseas market alone. The worldwide collections now stand at $1.87 billion – it looks like the $2 billion mark will just be a tad tough to reach as the movie winds down from theatres. Last week’s release The Forest dropped by 55% which isn’t too bad for a low-budget horror movie. Before we end, have a look at the collections of The Big Short, another movie in the news due to its multiple Oscar nominations. The movie released wide on the final weekend of 2015, opened in only about 1,580 theatres which gradually increased so as not to get missed out in an overcrowded market, and has been backed by good word-of-mouth and awards buzz. Made on a production budget of $28 million, the movie has garnered $70 million worldwide so far, and I expect the figures to improve in the global markets as the Oscars approach. A financially sound strategy indeed!
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office (estimates):
1. Ride Along 2 ($34.0 million)
2. The Revenant ($29.5 million; fourth weekend)
3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($25.1 million; fifth weekend)
4. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi ($16.0 million)
5. Daddy’s Home ($9.3 million; fourth weekend)