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Friday Box Office: 'Ride Along' Reigns Again, 'Awkward Moment' Connects, 'Labor Day' Lags

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood February 1, 2014 at 1:30PM

For theaters, Super Bowl Weekend is sometimes an early Valentine's Day, as the week's new releases tend to have a rom-com theme. This year is no different, with both new wide releases -- "That Awkward Moment" (Focus) and "Labor Day" (Paramount) -- meant as counter-programming against the football hoopla.
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'That Awkward Moment'
'That Awkward Moment'

For theaters, Super Bowl Weekend is sometimes an early Valentine's Day, as the week's new releases tend to have a rom-com theme. This year is no different, with both new wide releases -- "That Awkward Moment" (Focus) and "Labor Day" (Paramount) -- meant as counter-programming against the football hoopla. Despite this, the #1 for yesterday was, for the third straight Friday, "Ride Along" (Universal) at $4 million, just beating out "Awkward" ($3,943,000), with the former projected to win the full weekend.

"Awkward" is the first film released by the revamped Focus (a division of Universal), although its roots were at FilmDistrict--now absorbed into Focus--which acquired the independently-made comedy starring Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller prior to the move. It looks, with its modest budget, like a successful rollout for the revamped company.

With a much higher profile featuring writer/director Jason Reitman, stars Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin, an earlier festival launch and one-week LA awards qualifying run, "Labor Day" fared much less well. It came in at #5 for the day with $1,930,000. This looks to be the second of Reitman's films (after "Young Adult") to fall far short of the breakout successes of "Juno" and "Up in the Air."

For the full weekend, it will lag behind two still strong animated films. "Frozen" (Buena Vista) is being offered with "sing along" showings at some theaters to entice young fans back for another go-round. It was #4 yesterday at $2,224,000, but should reach at least #3 for the full weekend, ahead of "Lone Survivor" (Universal), still strong at $2.3 million (it will pass $100 million today). "The Nut Job" (Open Road) was #7 yesterday ($1,763,000), but should rise above at least "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" (Paramount), which was slightly more with $1,780,000.

The rest of the top 10 -- all grossing roughly between $1.1 and $1.3 million -- were "American Hustle," (Sony) "Wolf of Wall Street" (Paramount) and "I, Frankenstein" (20th Century-Fox). Weinstein's "August: Osage County" is just below and might eke out a tenth place for the weekend.

Overall, Top 10 business came in at around $21 million, down about 10% from last year which, if this plays out for the whole weekend, will make this the first of 2014 to fall short, not a good sign with the Winter Olympics just around the corner.

This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Box Office Top Ten, Box Office, Labor Day


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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.