‘Ride Along 2’ #1, ‘Revenant’ Holds Strong and ‘Star Wars’ Crosses $1 Billion Internationally

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Ride Along 2 was unable to top its predecessor but an estimated $34 million is enough to top the weekend box office, followed closely by Fox’s The Revenant, which dropped only 26% in its second weekend in wide release. Both films finished ahead of domestic box office king Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which fell to third in its fifth weekend in release while becoming only the fifth film to ever cross a major international milestone.

Meanwhile Michael Bay’s 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi performed just slightly under expectations while Lionsgate’s animated pick-up Norm of the North exceeded our most pessimistic of expectations. A selection of this past Thursday’s Oscar nominees also added a few theaters, delivering results worth taking a look at.

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Starting at the top, 2014’s Ride Along debuted with a whopping $41.5 million over the three-day weekend and $48.6 million for what was a four-day, Martin Luther King weekend record. The action/comedy sequel, which sees stars Kevin Hart and Ice Cube return, fell a bit short of the original with an estimated $34 million and what will likely end up being a $39 million four-day weekend. While this falls short of the first film, it’s still enough to challenge for a spot as one of the the top five all-time Martin Luther King weekend openings. It will need to put in a little work over the coming weekends, however, if it’s to top $100 million domestically as word of mouth might not be as strong for this one considering its “B+” CinemaScore compared to the first film’s “A”.

As was pointed out in the weekend preview, there are examples on both sides of the comedy sequel trend to support a big drop as well as big gains when compared to their predecessors. As it turns out, Ride Along 2 joins the likes of Think Like a Man Too, Horrible Bosses 2, Anchorman 2 and Ted 2 by falling short of the first film as well as our weekend predictions.

Coming in second is The Revenant, which lead the 2015 Oscar nominations with twelve and follows up its excellent wide release last weekend with an estimated $29.5 million this weekend. That’s a mere 25.9% drop, which is actually better than American Sniper’s impressive, 27.6% second weekend drop last year. Fox is predicting $35 million for the four-day holiday weekend, enough to become one of the all-time top ten Martin Luther King weekends. Add to that, the film brought in another $31.5 million internationally, bringing its worldwide cume to over $151 million.

Falling from the weekend top spot for the first time since its December 18 release, Star Wars: The Force Awakens brought in an estimated $25.1 million for the three-day weekend and is looking at $31 million for thefour-day as its domestic cume has now grown to $856.9 million. Meanwhile, it has become the fifth highest grossing release internationally and only the fifth film to bring in over $1 billion from overseas territories. It’s international cume has now grown to $1.012 billion, resulting in over $1.8 billion worldwide. It currently sits only $4.1 million shy of Jurassic World’s overseas gross and will soon top Furious 7’s $1.16 billion for third place on the list.

Landing in fourth position is another one of the weekend’s new wide releases, Michael Bay’s 13 Hours, which tallied an estimated $16 million for the three-day weekend with Paramount estimating $19 million for the four-day. This is Bay’s first film to gross less than $20 million in its first three days since The Island back in 2005. Budgeted at $50 million, it should push to end up grossing somewhere right around $45-50 million for its domestic run, perhaps lower than the $49.8 million Pain and Gain brought in back in 2013.

Lionsgate’s Norm of the North managed to perform a little better than expectations, which has to be a welcome result for the studio, which is on the hook only for the cost of distribution rights and it’s limited marketing spend. The film ended up grossing an estimated $6.6 million over the three-day and is estimated to finish around $8.8 million for the four-day weekend.

Looking over the list of Oscar nominees, The Big Short had the best hold in the top ten, dropping 15.8% this weekend, despite shedding 764 theaters. Playing in 1,765 theaters the five-time Oscar nominated film finished in eighth position with an estimated $5.2 million over the three-day weekend.

Brooklyn added 393 theaters and brought in $1.66 million for a 57.3% bump compared to last weekend. Right behind it was fellow Best Picture nominee, Spotlight, which expanded its reach by 617 theaters, playing in just shy of one thousand overall cinemas and bringing in an estimated $1.5 million. Additionally, A24’s Room brought in an estimated $700,000 from 293 theaters for a 504% bump, the weekend’s largest increase.

Paramount’s animated Oscar nominee, Charlie Kaufman’s stop-motion animated feature Anomalisa added 20 theaters and is now playing in 37 theaters across the country where it grossed an estimated $290,000.

The weekend’s per theater winner was Sony Classics’ The Lady in the Van, which had a two theater Academy run in December, but is now considered officially released, pulling in an estimated $72,264 from four theaters for a $18,066 per theater average.

Next weekend sees the release of Sony’s sci-fi thriller The 5th Wave, which actually opened in some international territories this weekend and pulled in $8.2 million from over 1,900 screens. Additionally, the PG-13 horror The Boy from STX will hit theaters next weekend along with the Robert De Niro and Zac Efron comedy Dirty Grandpa, all of which will be playing in around 2,600-2,800 theaters.

You can check out the three-day estimated results from this weekend right here and we’ll be back tomorrow with a full list of estimated results for the four-day weekend.

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Disney’s ‘Oz the Great and the Power’ bewitches box office with $80M debut

”Oz the Great and the Power” clicked with moviegoers. Disney’s 3-D prequel to ”The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” earned $80.3 million and debuted at No. 1 at the weekend box office, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

”Oz” reportedly cost $200 million with another $100 million in estimated marketing costs.

The film stars James Franco as the wizard and Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz as the three witches he encounters in the mystical realm of Oz.

The Warner Bros. 3-D action extravaganza ”Jack the Giant Slayer” stomped out second place with $10 million.

The Universal comedy ”Identity Thief” captured $6.3 million at No. 3.

The FilmDistrict revenge drama ”Dead Man Down” starring Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace opened in the No. 4 position with $5.43 million.

Fast & Furious 6 First Teaser Trailer Released!

Universal Pictures released the first proper teaser trailer for the 6th installment of the ultra successful Fast and Furious franchise during this year’s Super Bowl. Once again a bunch of cool guys who drive fast cars get into lots of trouble dealing with a heist of some sort. Only this time, they appear to be with the good guys. That means Vin Diesel and The Rock are on the same side.

You will also get the usual dose of high speed chases, massive crashes, incredible fire fights, and bootilicious chicks. Fast 6 also includes Gina Carano. Think of that as an added bonus!

Plot: Since Dom (Diesel) and Brian’s (Walker) Rio heist toppled a kingpin’s empire and left their crew with $100 million, our heroes have scattered across the globe. But their inability to return home and living forever on the lam have left their lives incomplete. 

Meanwhile, Hobbs (Johnson) has been tracking an organization of lethally skilled mercenary drivers across 12 countries, whose mastermind (Evans) is aided by a ruthless second-in-command revealed to be the love Dom thought was dead, Letty (Rodriguez). The only way to stop the criminal outfit is to outmatch them at street level, so Hobbs asks Dom to assemble his elite team in London. Payment? Full pardons for all of them so they can return home and make their families whole again. 

Building on the worldwide blockbuster success of Fast Five and taking the action, stunts and narrative to even greater heights, Fast & Furious 6 sees director Justin Lin back behind the camera for the fourth time. He is supported by longtime producers Neal H. Moritz and Vin Diesel, who welcome producer Clayton Townsend back to the series.

Selena Gomez Goes Bad in Spring Breakers Trailer!

Ever think Alex Russo would be robbing restaurants, doing drugs, getting into jail, and befriending arms dealers? If you looked hard enough, there were clues left all over Wizards of Waverly Place. I mean, she was scamming people left and right in that show.

Well, now Wizards actress Selena Gomez stars in Harmony Korine’s scandalous new Spring Break movie, Spring Breakers.

Our friends over at Movie Fanatic have the first Spring Breakers trailer, so click the link to check it out. The film follows four girls, including Gomez and High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens, who steal money in order to fund their trip to Florida for Spring Break.

As you can guess, things only get harrier from there. James Franco plays a thugged-out drug-and-arms dealer who solicits the girls’ help.

NOTE: Some Beliebers might say Gomez has already gone bad, seeing as she may have been holding hands this week with Luke Bracey.

“Taken 2” grabs Movie Box Office Crown!

Liam Neeson thriller “Taken 2” captured the No. 1 spot on movie box office charts over the weekend with a brawny $50 million take from theaters in the United States and Canada.

“Taken 2” stars Neeson as a former CIA agent kidnapped during a vacation in Istanbul. The movie added $55 million from some 50 international markets for a global opening of $117 million including Korea where it opened earlier, distributor 20th Century Fox said.

The strong debut for “Taken 2” pushed last weekend’s winner, family flick “Hotel Transylvania,” to second place. The movie about a hotel run by Dracula earned $26.3 million from Friday through Sunday, according to studio estimates compiled by Reuters. Comedy “Pitch Perfect” snagged the No. 3 slot with $14.7 million.

North American (U.S. and Canadian) sales for “Taken 2” were more than double the original film’s, which opened in January 2009 with $24.7 million and ultimately grossed a surprising $227 million around the world. The movie lifted Neeson to the ranks of Hollywood action stars, leading to roles in movies such as “Clash of the Titans” and “The Grey.”

“This so exceeded our expectations going in,” said Chris Aronson, executive vice president of domestic distribution at 20th Century Fox, noting that Fox had anticipated something “in the mid-30s range” after what he called a “sluggish market” since the summer.

“The come in at $50 million is really remarkable, and a testament to this character that Liam has created,” Aronson told Reuters.

The executive noted that the audience was almost evenly split male-female, and also played strongly across age groups, with more than half over the age of 25.

Fox co-financed the film with Europa Corp, the company run by “Taken” writer and director Luc Besson, and contributed $36 million to its budget, Aronson said. Reports have put the total budget at about $50 million.

“Hotel Transylvania” won the weekend battle for pre-Halloween family filmgoers, leaving new Walt Disney Co movie “Frankenweenie” in fifth place. Through two weekends, “Transylvania” has grossed $76 million in the domestic market.

“Pitch Perfect,” about a college all-girls singing group moved up the charts as it expanded nationwide following an impressive limited opening last weekend. The movie stars Anna Kendrick and Brittany Snow.

“There’s a lot to be said about this little engine that could,” said Nikki Rocco, president of domestic distribution for Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp, noting that the film only cost $17 million.

“It’s on the road to very nice profitability for Universal,” she said, adding that the studio expected “word of mouth, which we know is great” would help the film develop legs beyond its core, targeted audience, which, Rocco said, “loves it.”

Rounding out the charts, time-travel movie “Looper” earned fourth place with $12.2 million domestically. Sales for the movie starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt reached $40.3 million for the two-week run.

Disney’s “Frankenweenie” grossed $11.5 million at domestic theaters. The black-and-white stop-motion film directed by Tim Burton tells the story of a boy who brings his beloved dog back to life using Frankenstein-like science. The movie cost $39 million to produce.

News Corp’s 20th Century Fox studio distributed “Taken 2.” Sony Corp’s film studio released “Hotel Transylvania” and “Looper.” “Pitch Perfect” was distributed by Universal Pictures, a unit of Comcast Corp.