Box Office: 'Ride Along,' 'That Awkward Moment' Tie Friday for No. 1
However, "Ride Along" should pull ahead and win Super Bowl weekend; "Labor Day" is underperforming, while "American Hustle" prepares to become David O. Russell's top earner domestically.
Holdover Ride Along and new comedy That Awkward Moment -- starring Zac Efron, Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan -- tied Friday at the North American box office with $3.9 million each.
However, Ride Along is expected to pull ahead on Saturday and win Super Bowl weekend with an estimated $12 million, pushing its North American total to a stellar $92.7 million for Universal. The film, teaming rising star Kevin Hart with Ice Cube, will have stayed at No. 1 for three weekends.
Awkward Moment -- marking the first release from Focus Features under Peter Schlessel's rule -- is tipped to take in $10.1 million, a solid start considering the film's $8 million budget. The film hopes to lure younger females uninterested in Sunday's big game.
Schlessel acquired rights to Awkward Moment for roughly $1.5 million when he was running FilmDistrict and brought the title with him to Focus. The film, launching in 2,809 theaters and earning a B CinemaScore, revolves around three friends facing that awkward turning point in their respective relationships.
Awkward Moment could find itself in a close race for No. 2 with Disney's sing-along version of animated blockbuster Frozen, which grossed $2.2 million Friday for a projected weekend in the $9.7 million range. The film's domestic total through Friday was $353 million.
Frozen's soundtrack, featuring nine songs from the film as well as the score, is also doing blockbuster business and returned to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in the week ending Jan. 26. Frozen is the first soundtrack since High School Musical 2 in 2007 to spend at least three weeks at No. 1.
Jason Reitman's Labor Day may only eke out a seventh-place finish in its debut. The drama, targeting older women, grossed $1.9 million Friday for projected weekend earnings in the $5.5 million range (Paramount was expecting a debut between $6 million to $8 million). Audiences gave it a B- CinemaScore.
From Paramount and Indian Paintbrush, Labor Day cost $18 million to make and stars Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Gattlin Griffith and Tobey Maguire. It's the first time that one of Reitman's movies has opened nationwide; the rest have all opened in limited runs before slowly expanding. Labor Day, about a woman and her son who bring a stranger home over the holiday, was originally supposed to debut in theaters late last year, but its release was pushed back.
American Hustle continues to outpace other Oscar frontrunners and will become David O. Russell's most successful film at the domestic box office sometime over the weekend, surpassing the $132.1 million earned last year by Silver Linings Playbook. The film is expected to gross $4.3 million for the weekend for a North American total of $133.5 million.