“Ride Along” got the Martin Luther King holiday weekend box office off to a solid start, pulling in slightly over $1 million in late night shows Thursday, according to studio estimates.
The Ice Cube-Kevin Hart comedy played in 1,727 theaters and will expand to roughly 2,661 theaters over the weekend.It is expected to be the top film at the weekend box office and should pull in north of $30 million.
Its main competition is “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,” which opens after being pushed back by its distributor Paramount from the Christmas holiday season to make room for “Wolf of Wall Street,” and the second weekend of “Lone Survivor.”
“Jack Ryan” had more trouble building steam out of the gate. The film earned $330,000 in 1,800 locations during late night showings. It will expand to 3,300 locations on Friday, 300 of which will be IMAX venues.
“Jack Ryan” cost $60 million to produce and should pull in less that $20 million over its first four days of release. The picture finds Chris Pine playing Tom Clancy‘s CIA analyst hero, a role previously played by Ben Affleck, Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford.
Universal, which is distributing “Ride Along,” did not provide budget information for the film.
The weekend’s other two wide openers — Open Road’s first animated release, “The Nut Job,” and the Fox low-budget horror film “Devil’s Due” — are expected to land in the $10 million range.
“Ride Along” will also face competition from Oscar nominees such as “Gravity,” “12 Years a Slave” and “Captain Phillips,” which are returning to theaters or expanding their showings to capitalize on the awards attention.
Universal said “Ride Along’s” initial reception compared favorably with the $750,000 made by the action comedy “Pain & Gain” and the $689,000 racked up by the ensemble comedy “Best Man Holiday” in their late night debuts. Those films went on to opening weekends of $20.2 million and $30.1 million, respectively.
Critics have not been kind to the buddy cop comedy. “Ride Along” currently holds a dismal 18 percent “rotten” rating on critics aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.