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Box Office Top Ten: Action Holdovers and Animated Hits Edge Out Costly Bellyflop 'I, Frankenstein'

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood January 26, 2014 at 1:04PM

Despite a flopping new wide release ("I, Frankenstein"), grosses for the Top 10 this weekend actually enjoyed a healthy jump over last year ($91 million up from $81), showing strength from two unexpectedly big Universal films ("Ride Along" and "Lone Survivor"), two animated features and sustained interest in several Oscar contenders led by "American Hustle."
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'I, Frankenstein'
'I, Frankenstein'

Despite a flopping new wide release ("I, Frankenstein"), grosses for the Top 10 this weekend actually enjoyed a healthy jump over last year ($91 million up from $81), showing strength from two unexpectedly big Universal films ("Ride Along" and "Lone Survivor"), two animated features ("Frozen" and "The Nut Job") and sustained interest in several Oscar contenders led by "American Hustle."

A year ago, two horror-genre films ranked #1 and 2 as "Hansel and Gretel" and "Mama" grossed $32 million, a big chunk of the total. This year, a new horror film ("I, Frankenstein") badly underperformed at number 6 with a miserable $8.3 million, even though its title character is the biggest one in Universal's stable of scary icons.

'Lone Survivor'
'Lone Survivor'

The top films show a healthy diversity of subjects and appeal, although  the weak showing from the core younger audience continues to reveal a more serious problem ahead as older-appeal films wane going into the spring season.

1. Ride Along (Universal) Week 2 -  Last weekend #1

$21,200,000 (-49%) in 2,759 theaters (+96); PSA (Per screen average): $7,670; Cumulative: $75,400,000

The nearly 50% drop is the only minor tarnish to an otherwise continued strong showing for this Kevin Hart/Ice Cube comedy which has found unexpected success post-holidays (where the bigger than expected showing of "Anchorman 2" indicated a hunger for less sophisticated, broad humor). This still could come close to the typical three-times the opening weekend multiple (which would place this at a strong $120 million-plus), placing it above the usual performance for urban-based comedies led by African-American characters.

What comes next: This shows the appeal of working-class comedies (similar to Kevin James' "Paul Blart" success) that seem to be underrepresented on the screen despite their success on network TV.

2. Lone Survivor (Universal) Week 5 - Last weekend #2

$12,600,000 (-43%) in 3,162 theaters (+173); PSA: $3,945; Cumulative: $93,600,000

Holding decently, this continues to be major success, at #2 in its third wide week ahead of all but one of the year's other new releases and soon to be come the first $100 million film of 2014.

What comes next: This will take a Super Bowl hit next weekend, but still should easily hit $125 million or more.

This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Box Office Top Ten, Box Office, American Hustle, Lone Survivor


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.