Being three weekends at the top of the North America box-office, that is not something which you hear too often. No matter which month you open on. With each weekend delivering two to three movies, of all sorts of genres, some of them carrying the popular stars, and audience attention being skewed towards newer releases, managing to remain on top on the second weekend itself is commendable. But three weekends in a row, that is quite superlative. From last year, I cannot think of many who achieved this; Gravity and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug stayed atop for three weeks, but even the likes of Iron Man 3 and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire managed the top spot for only two consecutive weekends. So that puts in perspective why this current box-office performance from Universal’s Ride Along is laudatory. Two new releases and addition of more theatres for another film over the Super Bowl weekend could not dampen the run of this fine comedy film, which has so far grossed $93 million in North America (the foreign earnings are hardly anything as of now). The movie has now grossed a few million more than director Tim Story’s last film Think Like A Man (2012) which also had Kevin Hart as part of a larger cast. By the next weekend, the movie would have crossed the $100 million earnings mark, following on heels of another Universal movie Lone Survivor which achieved the same feat this weekend. Technically Lone Survivor is a 2013 release, and so Ride Along is on its way to become the first film to earn more than $100 million domestically in 2014. That’s been a jolly good ride!
Disney is not done yet with its blockbuster film Frozen and so added more theatres on the weekend for a sing-along version of the film, which saw it jump to second place in the domestic market. When you consider this is the tenth weekend for the film, it is simply extraordinary to see a film be anywhere near the top five box-office places, lest of all in second place. But that has been the magic of Frozen, which is still running strong!
Two new wide releases on the weekend drew little enthusiasm from the public. The Zac Efron starrer R-rated romcom flick That Awkward Moment did better though with $8.8 million on the first weekend. While nothing remarkable about those numbers, the production budget of this film itself is so small, at $8 million, that if the movie could avoid a sharp tumble in its second weekend, it may still bring in some money for the studio. Zac Efron still seems to be on his “growing up” path, trying a variety of roles with mixed results, though his audience profile continues to be heavily skewed towards the young female population. The actor does appear to be taking his progression seriously, and it feels only a matter of time when his work would get a much wider appreciation.
The other wide release of the weekend had a more acclaimed cast associated with it but that did not prove enough to get the audience in the theatres. Jason Reitman’s Labor Day, with Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin, pretty much bombed with only a $5.2 million opening. It too had a modest production budget of $18 million, but reaching that figure now would also be a challenge. Reitman who has the incredible Up In The Air against his name, has not been able to bring that spark in his movies again, with 2011’s Young Adult going largely unnoticed, and now the same fate has befallen Labor Day. Kate Winslet’s return to the big screen since 2011 has also failed to bring any life to this movie, and in the end, this one has simply passed us by.
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office:
1. Ride Along ($12.0 million; third weekend)
2. Frozen ($8.9 million; tenth weekend)
3. That Awkward Moment ($8.7 million)
4. The Nut Job ($7.3 million; third weekend)
5. Lone Survivor ($7.1 million; fourth weekend)