Universal’s ‘Ride Along’ Tops Box Office With $21.2 Million

“Ride Along,” the buddy comedy with Kevin Hart and Ice Cube, placed first in U.S. and Canadian theaters for a second weekend, collecting $21.2 million for Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures.

“I, Frankenstein,” a revisiting of Mary Shelley’s classic monster story, flopped. It took in $8.3 million to place sixth for Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. in the only wide release debut this past weekend, Rentrak Corp. said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. The film, starring Aaron Eckhart, had a production budget of $65 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

Receipts of “Ride Along,” together with those of the military drama “Lone Survivor” have lifted Universal to No. 1 in domestic sales so far in 2014. The popularity of both films have been aided by the appeal of their leading actors -- comedian Hart in “Ride Along” and Mark Wahlberg in “Lone Survivor,” a film about Navy SEAL commandos.

“Universal has to be thrilled by the way they’ve started the year,” said Phil Contrino, chief analyst for researcher BoxOffice.com.

In “Ride Along,” Hart’s character, a security guard, agrees to join his girlfriend’s brother, an Atlanta cop played by Ice Cube, on a 24-hour patrol to prove he’s worthy of marrying his sister and joining the force. The film got a 73 percent audience approval rating, according to aggregator site RottenTomatoes.com, and has benefited from Hart’s growing popularity with cinema goers.

‘Ho-Hum Film’

“Ride Along” was projected to take in $20.5 million in its second weekend, according to BoxOffice.com.

“I, Frankenstein” is based on the novel by Kevin Grevioux. Eckhart plays Adam Frankenstein, who finds himself in the middle of a war between two immortal clans. It also features Bill Nighy, Yvonne Strahovski, Miranda Otto and Grevioux. Stuart Beattie, a writer on the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, wrote and directed.

The movie was projected to garner $15.3 million in sales and got a 5 percent positive rating in reviews compiled by RottenTomatoes.com.

“Beattie’s solemn, ho-hum film largely shuns Shelley’s anguished creator as a character and turns his lonely monster into a football between the forces of good and evil,” wrote Nicolas Rapold in the New York Times.

‘Nut Job’

Among returning films, “Lone Survivor,” about a failed U.S. mission to track down an al-Qaeda leader in Afghanistan, generated $12.6 million for Universal to place second in its fifth week. It has collected $93.6 million in domestic ticket sales since Dec. 25.

With $152 million as of Jan. 23, Universal has commanded a 21 percent share of the U.S. and Canadian box office this year, according to Box Office Mojo. Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures was second with 20 percent.

“The Nut Job,” an animated picture from Open Road Films, placed third with $12.3 million in its second weekend, according to Rentrak. About a cantankerous squirrel called Surly who’s banished from his park and forced to survive in the city, the movie has generated $40.3 million to date in domestic theaters.

“Frozen,” the animated feature from Walt Disney Co., placed fourth with $9 million. The movie has collected $347.8 million domestically, according to Box Office Mojo.

Weekend revenue for the top 10 films rose 13 percent to $92.1 million from the year-earlier period, Rentrak said. Domestic box-office sales year to date are $824.9 million, up 8 percent from a year earlier.

The following table has U.S. movie box-office figures provided by studios to Rentrak. The amounts are based on gross ticket sales for Jan. 24 and Jan. 25, and estimates for yesterday.

                   Rev.   Pct.             Avg./    Total
   Movie           (mln)  Chg.   Theaters  Theater  (mln)   Wks
1 Ride Along      $21.2   -49    2,759    $7,670    $75.4    2
2 Lone Survivor    12.6   -43    3,131     4,024     93.6    5
3 Nut Job, The     12.3   -37    3,472     3,547     40.3    2
4 Frozen            9.0   -23    2,757     3,277    347.8   10
5 Jack Ryan         8.8   -43    3,387     2,598     30.2    2
6 I, Frankenstein   8.3    --    2,753     3,006      8.3    1
7 American Hustle   7.1   -28    2,304     3,082    127.0    7
8 Osage County      5.04  -32    2,411     2,091     26.5    5
9 Wolf Of Wall St.  5.0   -29    1,804     2,772     98.0    5
10 Devil’s Due      2.8   -67    2,544     1,081     12.9    2

Top 10 Film Grosses:

  This Week     Year Ago      Pct.
    (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
   $92.1        $81.2         +13

Year-to-date Revenue:

     2014          2013
      YTD           YTD        Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
    $824.9        $764.5         +8

Source: Rentrak Corp.
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