‘Ride Along’ Sacks Super Bowl Counter Play ‘Awkward Moment’ at Box Office (Video)

Kevin Hart-Ice Cube comedy wins 3rd straight; sing-along “Frozen” scores and “Labor Day” fumbles

The Kevin Hart-Ice Cube comedy “Ride Along” pulled off a box-office three-peat this weekend, holding off Zac Efron‘s “That Awkward Moment” with an estimated $12.3 million.

The R-rated bro-mantic comedy starring Efron, Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan took in $9 million and was in a tight race for second with Disney’s animated hit “Frozen,” which got $2.2 million from sing-along versions in more than 2,000 theaters nationwide, skating to an estimated $9.3 million.

The weekend’s other wide opener, director Jason Reitman’s Kate Winslet-Josh Brolin drama “Labor Day,” finished seventh with a lackluster $5 million for the three days.

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Both Focus Features’ “Awkward Moment” and Paramount’s “Labor Day” targeted mainly female audiences as counter-programming plays on a weekend when much of the nation’s focus was on Sunday’s Super Bowl.

But neither found enough of an audience to derail “Ride Along” and distributor Universal, which has topped the box office for four straight weeks. The Tim Story-directed “Ride Along”  is up to $93 million domestically — very impressive for a movie that cost $25 million to make.

that-awkward-moment-trioThe Tom Gormican-directed “Awkward Moment” hit the mark with its target demographic, with 64 percent of its audience female an 61 percent younger than 25. Analysts had expected a little more given the trio of young stars, but the first weekend haul is OK with Focus, which acquired rights to the $8 million film from Virgin Produced for $1.5 million. It’s long-run prospects could be hurt, however, by lousy reviews (22 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and a “B” CinemaScore from audiences.

The sing-along re-release is just the latest triumph for “Frozen,” which has snowballed into a global blockbuster, with more than $360 million domestically and $864 million worldwide. The album features the Oscar-nominated single “Let It Go,” and has spent three weeks atop the Billboard top 200 chart — the first soundtrack to do that since “High School Musical 2” in 2007.

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Another animated movie, Open Road’s “The Nut Job” finished fourth with $7.6 million. The squirrel tale featuring the voice of Will Arnett has taken in $50 million since opening three weeks ago.

“Lone Survivor,” which started Universal’s winning streak when it opened No. 1 four weeks ago, crossed the $100 million mark after taking in $7.1 million this weekend. The Afghan War drama starring Mark Wahlberg is up to nearly $105 million domestically.

“Labor Day,” co-financed to the tune of $18 million by Paramount & Indian Paintbrush, drew an audience that was older – 71 percent above the age of 25 – and 59 percent women. Audiences gave a “B-” CinemaScore to the drama revolving around an escaped convict and a single mom, which co-starred Gattlin Griffith and Tobey Maguire.

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Sony’s “American Hustle” continues to the  hottest Best Picture Oscar nominee at the box office. It took in $4.3 million over the weekend to raise its domestic to $133 million, which makes it director David O. Russell’s highest-grossing film, ahead of last year’s “Silver Linings Playbook” ($132 million).

Warner Bros. re-released “Gravity” in 330 Imax theaters this weekend and those screening provided more than half of its $2 million three-day total. Alfonso Cuaron’s 3D space epic remains by far the highest-grossing Best Picture contender overall with $264 million domestically, and nearly $700 million worldwide since opening in October.

Paramount’s awards contender  “The Wolf Of Wall Street” took in $3.4 million in its sixth week. Its domestic total is up to $104 million, making it the fourth of director Martin Scorsese’s movies to top $100 million – and they have all starred Leonardo DiCaprio. “Shutter Island,” “The Departed” and “The Aviator” are the others.