Box Office Hits: Universal’s Ride Along Is Still in the Driver’s Seat


Buckle up your seat belt, because it looks like Universal Corp’s (NYSE:UVV) Ride Along is officially in the driver’s seat when it comes to January blockbusters. The film starring Kevin Hart and Ice Cube scored the best January opening of all time last weekend, drawing $41.5 million in its first three days, and it now is expected to keep the box office lead despite the debut of Lionsgate’s (NYSE:LGF) I, Frankenstein, this weekend. Made for $25 million, both the Hollywood Reporter and Entertainment Weekly predict Ride Along will continue to reign supreme after this weekend, grossing $21 million. The buddy cop comedy has proven to resonate with consumers in the mood for a funny, lighthearted film following an influx of Oscar-nominated serious flicks, and Hart’s popularity on the big screen also especially evidences his rise to the top.

As for the new film to hit theaters this weekend, I, Frankenstein, is expected to go over well with moviegoers, entertaining with the likes of Aaron Eckhert; however, the Hollywood Reporter forecasts that the movie will still only open in the $10 million to $12 million range, which is a modest outlook considering the film was made for $65 million. Entertainment Weekly agrees with those expectations and has I, Frankenstein finishing third after the weekend, grossing $12.5 million. Entertainment Weekly supports its preditio with the argument that I, Frankenstein hasn’t generated much buzz in the weeks leading up to its debut, and the story line could prove too outdated for young viewers.

I, Frankenstein, directed by Stuart Beattie and adapted from Kevin Grevioux’s novel, takes the form of a supernatural flick that follows the store of Victor Frankenstein’s creator when he fights himself in a dystopian future where gargoyles and demons battle it out for power. Along with Eckhart, whom Entertainment Weekly says is not a real box office draw, the film stars Bill Nighy, Yvonne Strahovski, Miranda Otto, Socratis Otto, and Jai Courtney.

It still remains to be seen whether I, Frankenstein will nab the No. 2 spot behind Ride Along following its debut weekend or whether Universal’s Lone Survivor will take that distinction from it, too. Directed by Peter Berg, Lone Survivor only initially debuted in 2,989 theaters, but thanks to popular demand, its studio is now increasing the number of theaters it is playing in to 3,160. Entering its third weekend, the Hollywood Reporter says that the film has earned $79.6 million domestically, and could gross $13.5 million after this round. That would put Lone Survivor in front of I, Frankenstein in terms of box office predictions.

Lone Survivor, the Afghanistan war drama starring Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, and Eric Bana is based on the 2007 nonfiction book by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson. The film recreates the failed United States Navy SEALs mission Operation Red Wings when a four-man SEAL surveillance team was tasked to track Taliban leader Ahmad Shah. Though not all experts had high expectations for the film, it has proven to resonate well with moviegoers in its domestic market, and could even beat out the fantasy film inspired by Mary Shelley.

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