By Daniel Garris
Kung Fu Panda 3 easily led the box office this weekend with $41.28 million. However, the 3D computer animated sequel from Fox and DreamWorks Animation opened below expectations, which had been boosted a bit as a result of strong online pre-sales heading into the weekend. Kung Fu Panda 3 debuted 21 percent below the $52.11 million debut of last year's Home and 13 percent below the $47.66 million opening weekend take of 2011's Kung Fu Panda 2 (which was deflated a bit from opening on a Thursday). Without adjusting for ticket price inflation, Kung Fu Panda 3 did register the third largest January debut of all time (behind only American Sniper and Ride Along).
Kung Fu Panda 3 opened with $10.45 million on Friday, was up a strong 74 percent on Saturday to gross $18.16 million and declined 30 percent on Sunday to gross $12.67 million. That placed the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at 3.95 to 1. With no new family films going into wide release during the month of February, Kung Fu Panda 3 will have a strong chance of holding up well going forward. The film's strong A rating on CinemaScore is a good sign for Kung Fu Panda 3 going forward as well.
Fellow Fox release The Revenant placed in a distant second with $12.78 million. The Alejandro González Iñárritu directed western starring Leonardo DiCaprio was down a slim 20 percent, as holdovers in general benefited this weekend from last weekend's grosses being deflated by both Winter Storm Jonas and last Sunday's NFL Conference Championship Games. The Revenant continues to exceed expectations with $138.55 million after 24 days of wide release (and an additional two weeks of platform release). The film is currently running an impressive 28 percent ahead of the $108.01 million 24-day take of 2010's Shutter Island.
Disney's Star Wars: The Force Awakens claimed third place with $11.12 million. The seventh chapter of the Star Wars franchise was down just 21 percent from last weekend's deflated performance. This weekend's hold was especially impressive given that The Force Awakens was playing in 809 fewer locations this weekend than it was last weekend. With a record-breaking 45-day gross of $895.76 million, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is now just $4.24 million away from becoming the first film ever to reach the $900 million unadjusted domestic mark.
Fellow Disney release The Finest Hours followed closely behind in fourth place with a $10.29 million debut. The 3D action drama starring Chris Pine debuted towards the higher end of its modest expectations, but performed softly with its price tag in mind. The Finest Hours opened 7 percent below the recent $11.05 million debut of In the Heart of the Sea. However, The Finest Hours is likely to hold up significantly better than In the Heart of the Sea did, thanks in part to not opening the weekend before The Force Awakens. The Finest Hours received a healthy A- rating on CinemaScore.
Ride Along 2 rounded out the weekend's top five with $8.43 million. Universal's PG-13 rated comedy sequel starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart was down 32 percent, as the film held up much better this weekend than it did last weekend. Ride Along 2 has grossed $70.86 million in 17 days. That is below expectations and places the film 24 percent behind the $92.70 million 17-day take of 2014's Ride Along (which fell 43.5 percent in its third weekend to gross $12.04 million).
Last weekend's three new wide releases all held up nicely this weekend and all three films remained fairly bunched together. Lionsgate's Dirty Grandpa declined 32 percent to take sixth with $7.59 million; STX Entertainment's The Boy was down just 30 percent to place in seventh with $7.56 million and Sony's The 5th Wave decreased 31 percent to land in eighth place with $7.14 million. Respective ten-day grosses stand at $22.84 million for Dirty Grandpa, at $21.19 million for The Boy and at $20.33 million for The 5th Wave.
Meanwhile, Open Road's Fifty Shades of Black disappointed this weekend with a tenth place start of just $5.90 million. The Marlon Wayans led R-rated comedy debuted below its already scaled back expectations and a very underwhelming 33 percent below the $8.84 million start of 2014's A Haunted House 2. Given the performances of Wayans' more recent films, Fifty Shades of Black is likely to fall off extremely quickly going forward. The film's lackluster C rating on CinemaScore won't do it any favors either.