'Ride Along' Sets New January and MLK Holiday Weekend Box Office Records

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by Tambay A. Obenson
January 20, 2014 3:44 PM
7 Comments
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After posting an impressive $41 million opening 3-day weekend, the Kevin Hart comedy Ride Along, carried its surge into Monday, drawing huge crowds on its way to setting, not only a new January box office record, but also a Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend record, earning a total of $48 million over the 4 days, beating out previous record holder, 2008's Cloverfield, for the top spot (that movie earned $46.1 million over the same holiday weekend 6 years ago).

Co-starring Ice Cube, and directed by Tim Story, it appears that the comedy had broad audience appeal, given its opening weekend tally, with 2 stars who have strong brands that gelled together nicely. 

Polling showed that Ride Along's audience was 50% African American, 30% Hispanic, and 12% Caucasian, all primarily over the age of 25, with 57% being female. 

Box office prognosticators predict that the film will earn over $100 million by the end of its theatrical run, given its "A" CinemaScore, which would put director Tim Story in club with very, very few members: black filmmakers who directed "black films" that grossed over $100 million. Most recently, Lee Daniels did it with The Butler.

I'm not quite ready to crown Tim Story and Ride Along just yet; Whether the film will have legs going into successive weekends, remains to be seen. Strong word of mouth is absolutely crucial for it to maintain its momentum.

January typically isn't a month when studios release their expected blockbusters, but more seem to be starting to realize the advantage that the lack of competition during the month presents. The timing proved to be super for Universal, who released Ride Along, which, keep in mind, the studio picked up in turnaround from New Line last year. 

It makes for back-to-back number 1 openers for director Tim Story and producer Will Packer, who directed and produced (respectively) 2012's box office smash Think Like a Man, which also took the number 1 spot during its opening weekend, earning over $33 million, en route to a near-$100 million global box office, and which, by the way, also co-starred starred Kevin Hart. 

"We knew the tracking was strong, but we didn't see it going this high, especially with women," said Universal's Nikki Rocco, adding, "Maybe it's Kevin Hart?"

Maybe... 

Hart's certainly been on a roll; His 2013 concert movie Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, was a smash (relative to budget) for distributor Lionsgate/Codeblack.

Ultimately, what matters is that, whatever helped sell tickets and put butts in seats worked, and may continue to do so in the long run.

See also Tim Story: The Top-Grossing Black Director Many Apparently Still Aren't Familiar With.

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7 Comments

  • DE | January 21, 2014 4:38 PMReply

    You do know Tim Story already have 2 movies over $100 mill right? Fantastic 4 and the sequel.
    Plus Kevin Hart is the main reason Think like a man and Ride long are selling. His standup concert ranging from the 1st one in 2011 laugh at my pain to last year let me explain has made him very popular beyond my understanding. trust me if you black or latino you know who he is and find him a bit funny. Most importantly he very likable, that why women are showing up more so.

  • slb | January 21, 2014 3:41 PMReply

    Franklin Leonard got into on twitter with Exhibitor Relations on their poor tracking of "Ride Along". They underestimated by a good $15 million. His point was (and I wholeheartedly agree) that all these box office tracking companies and other prognosticators routinely under track Black films. Once in a while they might be on target, but for the most part, they underestimate the audience for Black films. They are ALWAYS shocked when a Black film opens big. It's like, "How did this happen?" This clearly happened here.

  • Donella | January 21, 2014 11:32 AMReply

    As soon as I saw the kid pic of Omar, I knew the villain.

  • Demond | January 21, 2014 1:01 AMReply

    "Maybe it's Kevin Hart?" REALLY?!!! Every Time I read A Comment from a Studio Executive about Films starring Black Actors or a Film Directed by a Black Filmmaker, They seem completely IGNORANT of The Fact That BLACK PEOPLE ACTUALLY EXIST AND LIKE TO GO TO THE MOVIES JUST AS MUCH AS WHITE PEOPLE!!!!

  • filmloverladyeo | January 21, 2014 5:15 PM

    Not only do Black folks go to movies; will someone also tell them we also like to see Black folks in the movies we go to see!

  • Monique a Williams | January 20, 2014 11:09 PMReply

    Good for them! Steve Harvey also encouraged his audience to pre-order on Fandango to ensure the movie wasn't a victim of the old switcharoo. It's good to have friends...

  • scripttease | January 20, 2014 4:34 PMReply

    Well good for "Ride Along", and I hope it surpasses one-million. Anywho, I hope to see it this week. I wanna see Tika!!

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