“Ride Along 2” is battling Leonardo DiCaprio and “The Revenant” for No. 1 at the box office over the Martin Luther King Day holiday weekend after the Kevin Hart-Ice Cube cop comedy and frontier vengeance saga sped past “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” on Friday.
Universal’s “Ride Along 2” was heading for $38 million over the four days and “The Revenant” was just behind it on Saturday after the PG-13-rated sequel laughed its way to $12 million in its first day and “The Revenant” brought in $9 million. Fox added 184 theaters — including some IMAX locations — in its second weekend to capitalize on its big showing Thursday, when it led all films at the Oscar nominations with a dozen.
“The Force Awakens,” the top movie the last four weekends during a record-breaking box office run, was third with $6.3 million Friday and Disney’s blockbuster space epic is headed for third place and $32 million through Monday. Friday’s haul lifted its total to $832 million domestically and nearly $1.8 million globally.
The Michael Bay-directed “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” followed with $5.8 million on Friday and Paramount reported its fact-based drama about a terrorist attack was heading for $20 million over the four days. The politically charged thriller played very strongly in Texas and Florida, which together delivered roughly 33 percent of its Friday gross, and received an “A” CinemaScore.
The weekend’s other wide opener, Lionsgate’s low-budget animated pickup “Norm of the North,” was in sixth place with $8 million for the weekend after taking in $1.5 million and earning a “B-” CinemaScore on Friday. Paramount’s comedy “Daddy’s Home” was fifth Friday with $2.5 million and will come in with around $11 million over the four days in its fourth weekend.
The overall box office hit the brakes, and the MLK weekend is on pace to be roughly 25 percent under last year’s holiday frame, when “American Sniper” rode its Oscar nominations to an explosive $107 million triumph. On its current pace, “Ride Along 2” will come in well under the original film, which brought in $41.5 million over the three days and $48.6 million over four two years ago. The sequel received a “B+” CinemaScore.
“The Revenant,” which will be off just 20 percent from its opening weekend on its current pace, wasn’t the only movie looking to score at the box office after collecting Oscar nominations.
Open Road Films aggressively added 617 theaters after its R-rated drama “Spotlight” earned six nominations including Best Picture, and it will wind up with around $2 million over the four days after taking $448,000 from 985 sites on Friday.
“Brooklyn,” a Best Picture nominee from Fox Searchlight, is on pace to finish in the same range. It took in $467,000 from 687 locations after adding 393 theaters.
“The Big Short,” a Best Picture nominee as well, was cashing in too, and doing it the hard way after Paramount pulled back and dropped 764 theaters. The dark comedy about the U.S. recession took in $1.5 million on Friday. It was looking at $5.2 million — just a 15 percent drop despite the fewer theaters — and seventh place for the four days.
The Weinstein Company added 265 theaters for “Carol” after Cate Blanchett was nominated for Best Actress, and it brought in $411,000 from 790 locations.
Focus Features added 62 theaters to “The Danish Girl” to capitalize on Eddie Redmayne‘s Best Actor nomination, and it delivered $184,000 from 479 theaters on Friday. That pencils out to roughly $812,000 for the four days, which would be a 13 pecent falloff.
A24 took “Room,” which copped nominations for Best Picture and Best Actress via Brie Larson, over the 200-theater mark for the first time but it failed to crack the top 25 films. Its $5.1 million domestic total after 12 weeks is the lowest of the Best Picture contenders.