January 16, 2016

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: Subdued Ride Along 2 Takes Lead Over Revenant, Star Wars, 13 Hours


Behaving much like recent high-profile sequels Spectre and Mockingjay Part 2, RIDE ALONG 2 (Universal) appears to be heading for an opening weekend around 20% below its predecessor.  According to preliminary numbers at Deadline, Ride 2 had a $11.8M Friday, compared to $14.4M for the original Ride Along.  That suggests a 4-day holiday weekend around $39M, nearly $10M below the first film’s $48.6M.  Even if Ride 2 remains at that level, it would still be highly profitable with a $110M-ish US total, and even more so if it can better the first Ride‘s small $19.5M overseas result.  A third film in the franchise seems overwhelmingly likely, although after that things could get dicier.

13 HOURS (Paramount) was aimed straight at red-state audiences, and it’s showing limited appeal with a $6M opening day.  That’s far below the $14.4M earned by the similarly pitched Lone Survivor on its first day of wide release (in January, but the week before the Martin Luther King holiday weekend), and suggests a mild $20M total by Monday.  A $60M US total (compared to $125.1M for Lone Survivor) wouldn’t be much to celebrate for 13 Hours, but the film was produced fairly economically on a $50M budget, so it could still eke out a profit, especially if, like Ride Along 2, it can improve its predecessor’s results overseas (Lone Survivor earned only $29.7M outside the US).  For Paramount, the film (like Pain & Gain in 2013, which had a $7.5M opening day) is merely a way-station between Michael Bay’s Transformers epics (#5 is coming soon), and the studio is more than happy to reach into its pockets a bit for Bay in exchange for the massive profits he gives it with that franchise.

NORM OF THE NORTH (Splash/Lionsgate) barely registered with $1.5M on Friday and perhaps $6M by Monday.  Lionsgate wants it clear to all that it’s merely a distributor for hire on the project, and Splash will bear any losses.

The weekend battle could be close between Ride Along 2 and THE REVENANT (Regency/RatPac/20th), which is riding its Oscar nominations to a strong 2d week in wide release, down 35% from last Friday to $9.3M and heading for $37M by Monday.  That would put it on the road to $150M+ in the US, and even though that still wouldn’t guarantee a profit for such an expensive enterprise ($250M+ between production and worldwide marketing), Revenant should hold well for the next month until the Oscars are awarded, and could do very well overseas.  It’s all playing out about as well as Fox could have hoped, considering that Revenant was considered a tough sell, due to its length, violence and generally portentous vibe.

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS (Lucasfilm/Disney) will finally be dethroned this weekend, but not by much.  It fell 40% from last Friday to $6.4M, and should have a 4-day $35M weekend.  It’s going to top $900M in the US, but with no marketable Oscar nominations, it may run out of steam before it reaches the promised land of $1B.  That is, however, the definition of a high-class problem.

As low-budget horror movies do, THE FOREST (Gramercy/Focus/Universal) plunged in its 2d weekend, down 66% from last Friday to $1.7M and on its way to a $6M 4-day weekend.  It will end up around $30M or so and vacate theatres in time for the next entry in the genre, next week’s The Boy.

DADDY’S HOME (Red Granite/Paramount) continues to be the leading non-Star Wars Christmas release, down 42% from last Friday to $2.4M and heading for $10M by Monday.  It should reach $150M before it’s done in the US.

THE BIG SHORT (Regency/Paramount) lost 30% of its theatres, so it wasn’t able to fully capitalize on its Oscar nominations, yet still dipped just 16% from last Friday to $1.5M.  It should have a $6.5M 4-day weekend and top $50M in the US, with a solid month of Oscar box office ahead.

THE HATEFUL 8 (Weinstein) got very little love from the Academy (not even a Screenplay nomination for Quentin Tarantino!), and dropped 48% from last Friday to $1M, heading for $4M by Monday and a US total that’s unlikely to get past $60M.  International box office may allow it to break even, but the Weinsteins will be lucky if Hateful 8 doesn’t increase their financial woes, let alone solving them.

Several smaller films expanded in expectation of major Oscar nominations, a bet that worked out for some better than others.  BROOKLYN (Fox Searchlight) more than doubled its run to 687 theatres and should have a 4-day weekend around $2M (up 60%), putting its US total at a tidy $25M.  SPOTLIGHT (Open Road) nearly tripled to 985 theatres and should also be around $2M for the holiday weekend (up 70%), which would send it above $30M in the US.  On the other hand, CAROL (Weinstein) missed out on a Best Picture nomination, and despite increasing its theatre count by 50% to 790 theatres, it’s headed for a small decline this weekend to $1.5M and a total that still may be below $10M.  Similarly, THE LADY IN THE VAN (Sony Classics) didn’t get a Best Actress nomination for Maggie Smith (her slot went to Charlotte Rampling for 45 Years), and its opening at 4 NY/LA arthouses will have a soft $15K 4-day weekend per-theatre average.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."