Amir here, with the weekend’s box office report. Initially I had decided to mirror last week’s column and predict Oscar winners based on their current financial gains – hey! It worked for the Globes! – but Ride Along’s performance has been so stellar that it warrants a mention. The buddy cop comedy starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart has been described in some quarters as a comedy version of Training Day with a romantic subplot. That’s probably enticing enough; add to it the fact that Kevin Hart’s hot off the incredible box office performance of his standup show, Let Me Explain, it’s really no wonder Ride Along did so well. Still, snatching the best ever January opening, beating a six year old record set by Cloverfield in the process, is beyond the studio’s best expectations. January is always dominated by the previous year’s holdovers though, and remains a box office hell for new films. To put things in perspective, Ride Along would not have had the biggest opening of all time in any other month, coming only close to the September record (Hotel Transylvania).
Lone Survivor occupied second place with a respectable drop. I have yet to see it for myself and my level of interest in ever seeing it can probably be found with a very powerful microscope somewhere, but the film’s been creating “controversies” because of its – depending on who you ask – realistic depiction, endorsement or sanctification of soldiers. You can count on it to continue to do good business based on the on-going conversation. Another film that’s still going strong is Frozen, which continues to sing and dance its way into American hearts in its eighth week. This week’s 18 percent drop is better than most had expected because direct competition has finally arrived in the shape of The Nut Job, which is surprisingly not a porn parody. Given the latter film’s modest budget, we can expect a profit despite its limited appeal to adult audiences.
RIDE ALONG $41.2m new
LONE SURVIVOR $23.2m (cum. 74m)
THE NUT JOB $20.5m new
JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT $17.2m new
FROZEN $11.9m (cum. 332.6m)
AMERICAN HUSTLE $10.6m (cum. 116.4m)
DEVIL’S DUE $8.5m new
AUGUST: OSAGE $7.6m (cum. 18.1m)
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET $7.5m (cum. 90.2m)
SAVING MR. BANKS $4.1m (cum. 75.3m)
Among the Oscar nominees, the biggest winners were American Hustle and 12 Years a Slave. The former lost more than 400 screens but had a nearly 30% improvement in sales; the latter regained 650 screens and sold five times as much as last week. Captain Phillips also added more than 700 theatres and saw a dramatic surge in ticket sales, but the nominations didn’t come to the rescue of two films: Inside Llewyn Davis and Her. Last week I mentioned that the Oscars would need to help them out if they want to turn their small fortunes around. I was proven right in the case of Llewyn Davis, as it failed to gain any momentum from Thursday’s announcement and sadly saw its numbers crash. Her experienced a more modest drop but still didn’t benefit at all from its Best Picture nomination. I have several theories, but none of them seem plausible. My best guess is that, the demographic to whom Her appeals, was always going to watch it irrespective of its awards success. Oscar nominations can’t convince everybody to watch a mustachioed, bespectacled man dressed in high pants fall in love with a computer.
Anyway, I didn’t hit the theatres this weekend, and looking ahead, nothing appeals to me before Rhymes for the Young Ghouls, which opens on January 31st in my corner of the world. What did you watch this weekend? Any theories on the Her drop?