Box Office: 'Ride Along' Revs to $48.1 Million, No. 1 MLK Opening of All Time
Universal dominated the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday frame with both Kevin Hart and Ice Cube's record-breaking comedy Ride Along and Peter Berg's holdover Lone Survivor.
Ride Along, fueled by younger moviegoers, took in $48.1 million for the four-day weekend -- the best opening of all time for the MLK frame, beating 2008's Cloverfield ($46.1 million). The movie, from director Tim Story, also scored the top three-day opening for the month of January ($41.6 million) and one of the best debuts ever for an African-American comedy, according to Universal.
Costing a modest $25 million to make and nabbing an A CinemaScore, Ride Along cements Hart's star status and marks his first turn as a comedy lead. African-Americans made up 50 percent of ticket buyers, followed by Hispanics (30 percent) and Caucasians (12 percent). Moviegoers under the age of 25 made up 46 percent of the audience.
Berg's Lone Survivor placed No. 2 over the four-day holiday with $26.4 million for a domestic total of $77.2 million. The Afghanistan war drama, a hit in America's heartland because of its patriotic themes, features an ensemble cast led by Mark Wahlberg.
New animated family film The Nut Job, whose voice cast includes Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser and Liam Neeson, did better than expected, grossing $25.2 million to come in No. 3.
It is the first new animated offering since Disney's hit Frozen, which was released at Thanksgiving, and marks the top opening of all time for Open Road Films, as well as the top opening for a nonstudio animated film (Coraline was the previous record-holder with $16.8 million).
Nut Job follows the adventures of a squirrel who plans to rob the town's biggest nut shop in order to help his friends survive the winter. The movie, costing $30 million after tax breaks, was made by ToonBox and Korean partner Redrover in association with Gulfstream Pictures. Open Road acquired U.S. rights and chipped in part of the marketing budget. Nut Job is ToonBox's first feature film.
Many films took a hit from Sunday's football championships, including Kenneth Branagh's Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, starring Chris Pine as the iconic character created by author Tom Clancy. On Sunday, Paramount estimated that the movie -- hoping to relaunch the studio's marquee franchise -- would earn $20.4 million. But Monday's estimate for the four-day holiday put the movie's debut at $18 million (final numbers for all films will be released Tuesday morning).
Jack Ryan failed to connect with younger audiences, resulting in 36 percent of the audience being over the age of 50. It opens more than a decade after the last film in the franchise, The Sum of All Fears, played in theaters and more than two decades after The Hunt for Red October launched the Ryan character on film.
Overseas, Jack Ryan opened to $22.2 million in its first 31 countries, led by China with $9.5 million. Based on its early performance, it will have to do big business overseas if Paramount is to make another film. The $60 million film, also starring Branagh, Kevin Costner and Keira Knightley, was co-financed by Paramount and co-financing partner Skydance Productions.
Both Nut Job and Jack Ryan received a B CinemaScore.
The weekend's fourth new entry, 20th Century Fox's $7 million horror pic Devil's Due, took in a tepid $9.3 million. The R-rated pic nearly flunked with a D+ CinemaScore and placed No. 7, behind Frozen and awards darling American Hustle.
Devil's Due stars Allison Miller and Zach Gilford as a couple who experience strange and supernatural events as they are expecting their first child. Overseas, it took in $2 million from six markets, including $1.5 million in the U.K.
Sony's American Hustle surged after winning best picture at last weekend's Golden Globes ceremony and picking up top Oscar nominations on Thursday (on Saturday night, the movie won the top prize of best cast at the Screen Actors Guild Awards).
David O. Russell's period pic, tied with Gravity for the most Oscar nods (10), was up nearly 19 percent weekend over weekend. Coming in No. 6, it grossed $11.5 million for the four-day frame, ending Monday with a domestic total of $117.3 million.
The Weinstein Co.'s August: Osage County also enjoyed a bump from Oscar nominations for Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts (it didn't earn a best picture nod). John Wells' adaptation of the stage play, up nearly 3 percent, grossed $8.9 million to come in at No. 8. Its domestic total is $19.5 million.
Osage County came in just ahead of Martin Scorsese's best picture nominee Wolf of Wall Street, which was down just 20 percent from last weekend, grossing $8.3 million for the four days to come in at No. 9. The Leonardo DiCaprio pic has grossed $91.1 million domestically and nearly $150 million globally.
Best picture nominee Her saw less of a bump, grossing $4.8 million for the four days for a tepid domestic total of $15.7 million. Weekend over weekend, it was down 24 percent. Her rounded out the top 10.