NORTH AMERICA: 4-Day Studio Estimates: 'Ride Along' Sets New MLK Weekend Record with $48.1M; 'Lone Survivor' Holds Well with $26.4M; 'The Nut Job' Surprises with $25.3M; 'Jack Ryan' Underwhelms with $18.0M (5th Update)

on January 17, 2014
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Monday Update: Due to the NFL Conference Championship games on Sunday, most film were over-estimated yesterday. However, that wasn't the case for Universal's Ride Along, which took in an estimated $41.6 million for the three-day frame and an estimated $48.1 million for the four-day frame. Ride Along exceeded its already lofty expectations this weekend and in the process set new unadjusted three-day opening weekend records for both Martin Luther King Day weekend and the month of January as a whole (both records were previously held by the $40.06 million start of 2008's Cloverfield). While the rush out of Kevin Hart's growing fanbase could potentially lead to some front-loading for Ride Along, that could also be offset by strong word of mouth, as the film received a strong A rating on CinemaScore.

Fellow Universal release Lone Survivor placed in second with respective three-day and four-day takes of $22.1 million and $26.4 million. The four-day take for the Peter Berg directed war film starring Mark Wahlberg was down a solid 30 percent from last weekend's three-day take. With $77.2 million after eleven days of wide release, Lone Survivor is currently running 36 percent stronger than the $56.95 million Zero Dark Thirty had grossed at the same point in its run last year.

The Nut Job opened surprisingly strong in third place with respective three-day and four-day grosses of $19.41 million and $25.26 million. The 3D computer animated film delivered the second largest opening weekend ever for distributor Open Road, just behind the $19.67 million start of 2012's The Grey. The Nut Job opened 10.5 percent stronger than the $22.87 million four-day start of 2009's Hotel for Dogs and is within shouting distance of Lone Survivor for second place over the four-day frame. The film received a B rating on CinemaScore.

The news wasn't anywhere near as good for Paramount's Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, which debuted in fourth place with respective three-day and four-day takes of $15.58 million and $18.0 million. The attempted franchise re-launch opened on the very low end of expectations, which had been softened a bit after the film was moved from its previous Christmas Day release slot. Jack Ryan received a so-so B rating on CinemaScore, which isn't the greatest early sign going forward. The saving grace for Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is that is carries a relatively modest reported production budget of $60 million.

The weekend's other new wide release, Fox's Devil's Due opened all the way down in seventh with respective three-day and four-day takes of $8.38 million and $9.3 million. The low-budget horror film debuted in line with its modest expectations. With a D+ rating on CinemaScore and the typically front-loaded nature of found footage horror films in general, expect Devil's Due to fade away from theatres very quickly.

Sunday Update: For a second consecutive weekend, Universal saw one of its films break out in in a big way, as its Ride Along easily led the three-day frame with an estimated $41.2 million. The action comedy starring Kevin Hart and Ice Cube had been widely expected to perform well heading into the weekend, but was still able to exceed its lofty expectations. Ride Along set new unadjusted three-day opening weekend records for both Martin Luther King Day weekend and the month of January as a whole. Both records were previously held by the $40.06 million start of 2008's Cloverfield. The official four-day estimate for Ride Along currently stands at $47.8 million, which would top the $46.15 million four-day take of Cloverfield. That is also an impressive 24 percent stronger than the $38.44 million four-day start of The Book of Eli over Martin Luther King weekend back in 2010.

Clearly Kevin Hart was the driving force in the success of Ride Along this weekend. The film's performance is especially promising for the comedian going forward, as Hart will continue to transition into his film career throughout 2014 with upcoming releases that include next month's About Last Night and June's Think Like a Man Too. While the rush out of Hart's growing fanbase could potentially lead to some front-loading for Ride Along, that could also be offset by strong word of mouth, as the film received a strong A rating on CinemaScore.

Somewhat surprisingly, the audience breakdown for Ride Along skewed fairly heavily towards female moviegoers (57 percent). The film also skewed towards moviegoers 25 and older (54 percent).

Universal also claimed second place over the three-day frame, as Lone Survivor took in an estimated $23.2 million. The Peter Berg directed war film starring Mark Wahlberg was down a solid 39 percent from last weekend's stronger than expected start. In comparison, last year Zero Dark Thirty fell 35 percent in its second weekend of release (also over Martin Luther King Day weekend) to gross $15.79 million. The official four-day estimate for Lone Survivor stands at $27.6 million. That brings the film's total to $78.4 million after eleven days of wide release, which is 38 percent stronger than the $56.95 million Zero Dark Thirty had grossed at the same point in its run.

The weekend's biggest surprise was The Nut Job, which opened in third over the three-day frame with an estimated $20.55 million. Online buzz levels had been soft for the 3D computer animated film from Open Road leading up to its release, but family audiences were clearly ready for something new this weekend. The Nut Job delivered the largest opening weekend ever for distributor Open Road, just topping the $19.67 million start of 2012's The Grey. The film's performance is an especially welcome sign for Open Road, who was coming off a string of disappointing performers throughout much of 2013. With an official four-day estimate of $27.2 million, The Nut Job opened 19 percent stronger than the $22.87 million four-day start of 2009's Hotel for Dogs and is within shouting distance of Lone Survivor for second place over the four-day frame. The film received a B rating on CinemaScore.

The news wasn't anywhere near as good for Paramount's Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit which debuted in fourth over the three-day frame with an estimated $17.2 million. The attempted franchise re-launch starring Chris Pine and Keira Knightley opened on the low end of expectations, which had been softened a bit after the film was moved from its previous Christmas Day release slot. At the end of the day, there was simply still too much competition for Jack Ryan to stand out, as the break-out performances of Ride Along and Lone Survivor and the continued presence of Oscar nominees for Best Picture in the marketplace have limited the potential audience for Jack Ryan. The official four-day estimate for Jack Ryan stands at $20.0 million. The film received a so-so B rating on CinemaScore, which isn't the greatest early sign going forward. On the other hand, the film did register a strong estimated three-day opening weekend to Friday ratio of 3.19 to 1. The saving grace for Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is that is carries a relatively modest reported production budget of $60 million.

The weekend's other new wide release, Fox's Devil's Due opened all the way down in seventh with an estimated $8.5 million. The low-budget horror film debuted in line with its modest expectations and 54 percent softer than the recent $18.34 million start of Paramount's Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones. For the four-day frame, Devil's Due is headed for a take in the area of $9.5 million. With a D+ rating on CinemaScore and the typically front-loaded nature of found footage horror films in general, expect Devil's Due to fade away from theatres very quickly.

Even with the break-out performance of The Nut Job, Disney's Frozen remained strong this weekend with an estimated fifth place three-day take of $11.97 million. That represented a slim 19 percent decline from last weekend. The official four-day estimate for Frozen stands at $16.399 million, which brings the film's domestic total to a massive $337.03 million.

Noteworthy performances for films that received major Academy Award nominations included three-day estimated takes of $10.60 million for Sony's American Hustle, $7.59 million for The Weinstein Company's August: Osage County and $7.50 million for Paramount's The Wolf of Wall Street. American Hustle was up an impressive 28 percent over last weekend, August: Osage County was up 5 percent (thanks in part to receiving a major theatre expansion) and The Wolf of Wall Street was down just 15 percent. Respective total grosses through Sunday stand at $116.43 million for American Hustle, at $90.28 million for The Wolf of Wall Street and at $18.18 million for August: Osage County.

Saturday Update: Universal reports this morning that Ride Along banked a stellar $14.5 million Thursday night and Friday, giving it one of the best opening days ever for an original comedy and setting it on course for a massive $39.5 million 3-day / $46 million 4-day holiday debut. The 3-day figure would be enough for the second best January opening, and the 4-day would mark the second best extended MLK opening weekend in history, topping Lone Survivor's $37.85 million mark for the 3-day statistic. Cloverfield, for the time being, owns both records with $40.1 million and $46.2 million, respectively.

Although critics haven't taken to the film (17 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), early word of mouth looks relatively healthy with 79 percent of Flixster users approving of or still anticipating the comedy. The recipe for success here is fairly simple: Kevin Hart. Bucking the strong possibility of his overexposure in a number of movies recently, Hart is riding a wave of growing popularity that broadens his appeal to a diverse audience. Ice Cube's presence is certainly helpful as well, himself coming off a supporting role in a similarly-themed buddy cop hit two years ago (21 Jump Street).

Paramount's Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit came in significantly under early Friday projections. The franchise reboot pulled a disappointing $5.43 million yesterday, which should net it around $16.3 million for the 3-day and $19.2 million over the extended 4-day weekend. The studio was hoping for more but after Lone Survivor exploded last weekend and ensured the male/action fan audience would have a fairly tough choice to make this weekend, the film's prospects were severely hampered. Ryan's Flixster score is down to a modest 64 percent right now, while critical reception is leaning just toward the positive side with 62 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. On the bright side, the film's fairly low $60 million production budget means it could still end up a financial success if overseas business helps pick up some of the tab.

Open Road made its animation debut with The Nut Job this weekend as it pulled $4.8 million yesterday. Look for $18.8 million 3-day and $25.5 million 4-day figures. That's better than expected business with Frozen still riding strong with family audiences. Then again, with Nut Job's trailer running in front of that pic for the past two months, it certainly had a lot of exposure. Critics have shunned the flick (13 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) while Flixster stands at 69 percent. 

Fox's Devil's Due earned a soft $3.5 million yesterday. Combined with the very modest returns for Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones two weeks ago, horror fans clearly aren't hungry for anything new right now--that, plus the film's marketing campaign failed to sell this film as a must-see picture for that crowd. The film's Flixster score is a disastrous 38 percent with critics similarly disapproving (21 percent on RT). Devil's Due should take in $8.5 million over the 3-day frame and $9.5 million for the 4-day.

Friday Update #2: Sources tell BoxOffice that Ride Along is gunning for close to $11 million based on early Friday business. That would put the Kevin Hart-Ice Cube comedy on pace for a $31-33 million 3-day / $35-37 million 4-day holiday weekend.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is looking at solid business today in its own right. Sources are projecting an $8.5 million take today that could end up netting the film a $24 million 3-day / $28 million 4-day debut.

The Nut Job is looking at around $3.5 million today. We're staying conservative on Nut Job for now with a projected $16-18 million 3-day / $20-22 million 4-day bow.

Devil's Due, meanwhile, may pull in around $3 million today. Horror films generate a big chunk of their business from late shows, so that's another figure we're cautious about. Should it hold, the front-loaded nature of the genre means Devil's Due will bank around $8 million for the 3-day and $9 million for the 4-day.

More updates to come...

Friday Update #1: Universal reports that Ride Along took in $1.1 million from Thursday evening shows, easily topping the $330K that Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit managed. 

More coming later...

Tags: Ride Along, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, The Nut Job, Devil's Due
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1 Comment

  • Grant on 21 January 2014

    It's just a coincidence, but this is the third consecutive year where Universal has topped the MLK frame ("Contraband" in 2012, "Mama" in 2013).

What do you think?