Kevin Hart/Ice Cube Vehicle “Ride Along” Rolls into No. 1 Spot at Box Office

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Ice Cube, left, and Kevin Hart in a scene from "Ride Along." (AP Photo/Universal Pictures, Quantrell D. Colbert)
This image released by Universal Pictures shows Ice Cube, left, and Kevin Hart in a scene from “Ride Along.” (AP Photo/Universal Pictures, Quantrell D. Colbert)

The Kevin Hart/Ice Cube film Ride Along arrived in first place at the weekend box office.  The buddy cop comedy debuted with $41.2 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. The strong opening for Ride Along marks the biggest debut for a film released during Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend and puts it on track to top the $40.1 million record set by the 2008 monster movie Cloverfield for the biggest opening of January.

Ride Along is the first starring role for Hart, whose box-office status has been on the rise since the success of his 2013 stand-up film Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain and memorable roles in such movies as Think Like a Man, This Is the End and Grudge Match.  “He’s everywhere it seems,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker Rentrak. “I know he was co-starring with Ice Cube in Ride Along, but this really was marketed as a Kevin Hart movie. There’s no question he’s a movie star now who doesn’t require any qualifications before his name.”

In second place, Universal’s Navy SEAL drama Lone Survivor starring Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster earned $23.2 million in its second weekend in wide release, bringing its domestic total to $74 million.  Open Road Films’ animated film The Nut Job featuring the voices of Will Arnett and Brendan Fraser opened in third place with $20.6 million.

The weekend’s other major new releases, Paramount’s spy reboot Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and the Fox horror flick Devil’s Due, respectively opened in fourth and seventh place. Jack Ryan, which stars Chris Pine in the titular role, debuted with a disappointing $17.2 million, while Devil’s Due featuring Zach Gilford and Allison Miller birthed $8.5 million.

Several films nominated for Academy Awards last week received a bump at the box office following their nods, including American Hustle in sixth place with $10.6 million, August: Osage County in eighth place with $7.6 million and The Wolf of Wall Street with $7.5 million.

The best picture contenders Gravity, Captain Phillips, 12 Years a Slave and Dallas Buyers Club were all rereleased in theaters this weekend following their Oscar nominations. Gravity is up with American Hustle for the most trophies with 10 nominations each.

“The Oscars definitely have an impact on studios’ decision-making process,” said Dergarabedian. “These are movies that would normally be played out, finished, pretty much done in terms of box office, and now they’re getting a completely new lease on life.”

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Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Tuesday.

1. “Ride Along,” $41.2 million.

2. “Lone Survivor,” $23.2 million

3. “The Nut Job,” $20.6 million.

4. “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,” $17.2 million.

5. “Frozen,” $12 million.

6. “American Hustle,” $10.6 million.

7. “Devil’s Due,” $8.5 million.

8. “August: Osage County,” $7.6 million.

9. “The Wolf of Wall Street,” $7.5 million.

10. “Saving Mr. Banks,” $4.1 million.

article by Derrik L. Lang, AP via thegrio.com

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