6TH UPDATE Writethru, Monday 8:30AM after Sunday 10:30 AM: Official figures don’t come out until tomorrow, but in early Monday morning estimates Ride Along 2 looks like it will clear $41.5M through four-days, with a FSS of $35.3M. So essentially, Ride Along 2 is a day behind Ride Along in its grosses; the earlier film having opened to $41.5M over three days (and finaled at $134.9M). Rivals  think the Kevin Hart-Ice Cube comedy sequel can do even better, clearing $42M over four-days. Ride Along 2 is the sixth No. 1 opener for Hart, the seventh for director Tim Story, and the ninth for both actor Ice Cube and producer Will Packer.

With a B+ CinemaScore versus the first installment’s A, certainly some form of sequelitis has set in for Ride Along 2, but there have been worse casesride along 2 3. While Ted 2 and Horrible Bosses 2 posted respective slides in their weekend debuts of -38% and -45% from their originals, Ride Along 2 is down -19%. Ride Along 2 will now overtake Green Hornet ($40M)  as the fourth highest 4-day opener in the MLK weekend B.O. scorebooks. Ride Along 2‘s CinemaScore comes with a 3.2 multiple. Couple that with its PostTrak 57% definite recommend and this $40M budgeted sequel should pass $120M at the domestic B.O.

Ticket sales in the west were lower for Ride Along 2 than Ride Along. The sequel did overindex in the South and the audience widened this time around as they discovered the first film on DVD/VOD. Whereas close to half of those watching the first Ride Along were African American, the sequel drew 34% African American, 34% Hispanic, 22% Caucasian and 5% Asian. By the end of this weekend, Ride Along 2 was top heavy with females at 52% similar to the first, but its fanbase got younger with 55% under 25.

5 months
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Mr. Obvious
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If it wasn't those movies that screwed up your life, what do you think lead you down...

Like Vin Diesel with Fast and Furious, Universal has one of the biggest social media stars working for them in Kevin Hart. He alone draws 75M fans across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The Ride Along 2 cast counts 161M according to RelishMix with Ice Cube (17M), Olivia Munn (1.4M), Tyrese Gibson (35M), T.I. (31M), Ken Jeong (1.6M) and Sherri Shepherd (1.2M). RelishMix noticed that the social chatter was dominated by fans calling each other out to go see this sequel based on their love of the original. One of the biggest viral sensations has been this video, where Conan O’Brien, Hart and Ice Cube assist a student driver. The video has clocked 20.4M views. The last time this trio did something similar it was in a Lyft car. That video from 2013 is drawing 200K as a result of this second one, at a cume of 25.1M.

'Room' is a journey out of darkness, director saysThe halo effect from Oscar couldn’t be more radiant. In second place this weekend is 20th Century Fox/New Regency’s The Revenant with $31.8M, a nice -20% hold, and $39M over FSSM. The Leonardo DiCaprio 12-time Oscar nominated title will be just $3M shy of $100M by day’s end tomorrow. Meanwhile, outside the top 10, A24’s Room had a fantastic weekend hot off its best picture nomination, expanding from 88 sites to 293 for a 3-day surge of 509% or $700K. Over four-days the Lenny Abrahamson-helmed movie will make $893K raising its cume to $6.1M.  Rival distribs predicted earlier this week that Room, of all the best picture nominees, has the best chances of an Oscar boost at the B.O. since it’s been under the masses’ radar given its limited release.

Disney’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens was pushed down to third place with a $26.3M FSS in its fifth weekend and $32.5M over FSSM from 3,822 theaters. That brings its total to $858.5M. Saturday matinees were huge for Star Wars fueling it to $11.1M Saturday, a 76% spike over Friday. Evening shows gave way to Ride Along 2. 

13 hoursParamount Pictures’ controversial 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is coming in lower than its $20M-$23M industry projection, but stronger than anticipated with a $19.65M FSSM and $16.2M in its 3-day B.O.. I’m told this is an OK result, not terrible, not spectacular. Director Michael Bay was passionate about doing a serious movie about the men on the ground who put their lives in the crosshairs during the 2012 Benghazi attacks. However Republicans, Democrats and the C.I.A. all were using the title as a political football all weekend long.  13 Hours earned the best CinemaScore (A) out of all the wide entries. That grade comes with a 3.6 multiple and puts this film which cost a reported $50M before P&A with a domestic cume north of $68M by end of its run. Outside of American Sniper which was an anomaly, these U.S. war pics are contingent on their stateside ticket sales since foreign only reps 20%-30% of its global haul. I hear 13 Hours played strongest in the red states, chiefly the south and states like Florida and Texas. However, crimping 13 Hours is The Revenant, which is playing more to the heartland and more broadly than on the coasts. And then there’s Star Wars continued dominance.

normLionsgate’s Norm of the North, the third wide entry, debuted to a 3-day of $6.8M and a 4-day $9.3M (which is a bit better than expected). Lionsgate is on the hook for P&A as Splash Entertainment has financed this film in its entirety. iSpot TV reports a TV media spot spend of $13.5M which gives you an idea of where P&A is. After factoring rentals that go back to the studio, Norm isn’t in the black yet. Insiders are confident that this Ice Age knockoff will be. The under 18 bunch at 48% loved the film with an A- CinemaScore. Parents wish they were anywhere but the theater pushing the overall grade down to a B-.

Among other Oscar nominated titles that rallied this weekend:

Fox Searchlight is crowing about Brooklyn beating Spotlight and Carol with a $1.77M 11th weekend, +68% and a 4-day of $2.2M for a total running cume of $25.1M.  Also in its 11th weekend is Open Road’s Spotlight at 985 sites which grossed $1.65M over FSS and $2.1M over FSSM. Cume to date is $31.1M. Weinstein Co.’s Carol saw a -2% dip with $1.46M in its ninth weekend at 790 locations. Four-day is $1.8M Brooklyn Movie 2raising its cume to $9.5M.  Loaded with six nominations including best actress (Cate Blachett) and supporting actress (Rooney Mara), the 1950s Lesbian love story played well in the big cities including New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, D.C. and San Francisco. Art crowds dominate with women repping 65% of all moviegoers.

The top 10 studio reported titles for the weekend of Jan. 15-18, MLK Weekend 2016 — chart is still being updated:

1.) Ride Along 2 (UNI), 3,175 theaters / $11.9M Fri./$13.5M Sat./$9.89M Sunday/$6.2M Monday/ 3-day cume: $35.3M/ 4-day: $41.5M / Wk 1

2.) The Revenant (FOX), 3,559 theaters (+184) / $9.3MFri./$12.7M Sat/$9.9M Sun./$7.2M Monday/ 3-day cume: $31.8M (-20%)/4-day: $39M/ Total cume: $97.1M / Wk 4

3.) Star Wars: The Force Awakens (DIS), 3,822 theaters (-312) / $6.3M Fri. /$11.1M Sat./$9M Sun/$6.2M Mon./ 3-day cume: $26.3M (-38%) /4-day: $32.6M/ Total cume: $858.5M/ Wk 5

4). 13 Hours… (PAR), 2,389 theaters / $5.9M Fri. /$5.8M Sat/$4.56M Sun/$3.45M Mon./3-day cume: $16.2M/4-day: $19.65M/ Wk 1

5). Daddy’s Home (PAR), 3,322 theaters (-161) / $2.4M Fri./$4M Sat./$3.08M Sun./$2.5M Mon./ 3-day cume: $9.5M (-37%)/4-day: $12M Total cume: $131.3M / Wk 4

6.) Norm of the North (LION) 2,411 theaters / $1.58M Fri. /$3M Sat./$2.26M Sun./$2.5M Mon./ 3-day cume: $6.8M/4-day: $9.3M/ Wk 1

7). The Forest (FOC), 2,509 theaters  (+58)/ $1.76M Fri. /$2.4M Sat./$1.8M Sun/$1M Mon. 3-day cume: $6M (-53%)/4-day: $7M/Total: $22.3M/Wk 2

8). The Big Short (PAR), 1,765 theaters (-764) / $1.5M Fri./$2.1M Sat/$1.6M Sun/ 3-day cume: $5.3M (-14%) /$4-day: $6.45M/ Total cume: $51.77M / Wk 6

9.) Sisters (UNI), 2,313 theaters (-551) / $1.37M Fri./$1.9M Sat./$1.4M Sun./$800K Mon. / 3-day cume: $4.7M (-35%) /4-day: $5.5M/ Total cume: $82M / Wk 5

10.) The Hateful Eight (TWC), 2,385 theaters (-553) / $1M Fri. /$1.4M Sat./$1.1M Sun./$846K Mon/ 3-day cume: $3.6M (-44%)/4-day: $4.4M/ Total cume: $48.6M / Wk 4

Notables:

Spotlight13).Brooklyn (FSL), 687 theaters (+393) / $465K Fri /$743K Sat./$562K/ $455K Mon./3-day cume: $1.77M (+68%) /$4-day: $2.2M/ Total cume: $25.1M / Wk 11

14). Spotlight (ORF), 985 theaters (+617) / $448K Fri./$668K Sat./$534K Sun./$427K Mon./ 3-day cume: $1.65M (+78%) /$4-day: $2.1M/ Total cume: $31.1M / Wk 11

15). Carol (TWC), 790 theaters (+265) / $411K Fri /$589K Sat./$458K Sun/$366K Mon./ 3-day cume: $1.46M (-2%) /$4-day: $1.8M/ Total cume: $9.5M / Wk 9

4TH UPDATE, Writethru Saturday AM: Star Wars: The Force Awakens is finally slowing…but not by much. After having a grip on 4,134 theaters for a month, Disney finally shed 312 of those for Episode VII this weekend. Still a $33.3M third-place haul for a film in its fifth weekend is a figure any distributor would envy. It’s not just Universal’s Ride Along 2 piling on top of Episode VII as we expected heading into the weekend, but also 20th Century Fox’s The Revenant, riding a wave of 12 Oscar nominations.

Industry projections for Ride Along 2 have calmed down to a 4-day estimated opening of $40M at 3,175 venues, and $34.1M over 3 days. We’ll see what Saturday brings. Non-Universal forecasts see Ride Along 2 increasing 15% today. If that figure is greater, then the 4-day sum will grow. I’m hearing tickets sales in the west slowed on Friday, which is why the title is coming in slightly lower than expected. One set of figures shows Revenant winning the 4-day $36.7M to Ride Along 2‘s $35M. However, it’s too early to tell if Fox’s bear will flip Uni’s car.

Ride Along 2 also received a B+ CinemaScore to the first chapter’s A. PostTrak still shows an 80% excellent/very good score from moviegoers. Even though the sequel’s opening is about $8M (-17%) off from the first title’s debut, it’s a better hold than other comedy sequels in recent times, i.e. Ted 2 and Horrible Bosses 2 which posted respective slides in their weekend debuts of -38% and -45% from their originals. Ride Along 2 led all films Friday night with $12M. TV spots cost an estimated $26.5M per iSpot.TV with the most bucks going to Fox and Uni sister NBC. PostTrak demos are still showing older males, but with slightly more over-25 at 53%. African Americans rep the bulk of the audience at 38% followed by Caucasian (26%), Hispanic (23%) and Asian (12%). While PostTrak showed 47% of the audience for Ride Along was  African American, I’m told that the fanbase for the comedy broadened due to its robust home entertainment sales. CinemaScore also showed older guys coming out in similar proportions to PostTrak. However, women at 47% liked Ride Along 2 better than guys who gave it a B+. Similar to Ride Along, those watching the sequel came out because of Kevin Hart and Ice Cube (66%) and the fact that it’s a comedy (51%).

revenantThis MLK weekend, which currently counts $201M from 29 titles will definitely be off from last year’s all-time high for the holiday of $248.5M, which was, of course, when American Sniper went wide with $107.2M. In hindsight, some distributors thought that Clint Eastwood film took some air out of the box office, and as such prefer the current climate as they feel there’s more depth for films to play. There’s also an Oscar nom afterglow: Revenant after a second wide frame of $36.8M is nearing $100M, and will soon become Leonardo DiCaprio’s 10th film to cross that benchmark. The Big Short has a super -15% hold in its sixth FSS of $5.4M. Brooklyn and Spotlight are seeing respective 3-day estimated boosts of 61% and 78% in their 11th frame, while lead/supporting actress contender Carol is on track to be +1% up from last weekend with a FSS of $1.5M.

Force AwakensForce Awakens’  MLK 4-day is less than the $54.4M grossed by Avatar over its FSSM, but Episode VII will be $98.7M ahead of the James Cameron film by Monday at $859.2M. While some non-Disney distributors predicted $1B as its final cume, others forecasted Star Wars slowing as it approaches the $900M mark. One recent takeaway for Force Awakens: It’s flying past Jurassic World’s 1M global tickets sales in 4DX theaters. Those are the movie auditoriums with the moving seats. In the U.S., Episode VII boasts the best opening performance of all 4DX titles, with occupancy rates of 84% during the Dec. 18-20 frame. 4DX reaches 228 auditoriums in 37 countries, and aims to grow further by opening 200 additional auditoriums in 2016.

Paramount’s 13 Hours is holding on to fourth place with an estimated $20M over FSSM at 2,389 venues. By the end of Friday, it should see an estimated $5.9M. For a film that carries an estimated $50M budget, rival distribs tell me this is a decent start for this economically budgeted Michael Bay vehicle.

Mid-January has always served as a prime launch date for modern day war pics, i.e. Lone Survivor ($37.8M wide debut, $125.1M), Black Hawk Down ($28.6M, $108.6M), Zero Dark Thirty ($24.4M wide, $95.7M) and the big one American Sniper ($107.2M wide opening, $350.1M). Lone Survivor and American Sniper landed A+s; Zero Dark Thirty an A-. CinemaScore crowds are giving 13 Hours the best grade among this weekend’s wide entries: an A grade.  And not just one demo, but various ages gave 13 Hours same version of an A. Word of mouth has certainly kicked in as Paramount screened 13 Hours extensively for the military, topped off with a Dallas premiere that drew 35K. That gives 13 Hours some hope as its reviews (a middling 59% rotten) have paled in comparison to the military titles listed above.

The audience breakdown for 13 Hours is very similar to Zero Dark Thirty: mostly males (55%), heavily skewing over 25 (79%), with a sizeable portion over 50 (39%). More than the film’s stars (21%), 79% of CinemaScore crowds wanted to see 13 Hours because they were intrigued by the Benghazi situation.

13 Hours picked up speed in its development back in October 2014 when Bay began circling the project. Pic was set-up by producer Erwin Stoff and the 3 Arts 13 hoursproduction label, adapting Mitchell Zuckoff’s book Thirteen Hours: The Inside Account Of What Really Happened In Benghazi. Estimated TV spend for 13 Hours per iSpotTV is $25.8M, with ads running during NFL and NBA sporting events, in addition to The Golden Globes.

Conan was a key stop during the first Ride Along, triggering a successful viral campaign. Well, Hart and Ice Cube returned to the show for another car ride with the late-night host. However, this time there was a student driver behind the wheel.  The bit hit 25M views online. Hart and Cube also created custom promotional spots which ran across Adult Swim, BET, Comedy Central, ESPN, Spike, TBS, VH1, and NFL games, in addition to a heavy circuit of traditional appearances.

Norm Of The NorthLionsgate’s Norm of the North is currently looking at a sixth place debut with a 3-day of $6.4M and 4-day of $8.5M at 2,411 theaters. 64% females were the majority here (moms), with 54% under 25. Kids loved it with the under 48% crowd giving it a A-, but the adults pulled these grades down with an overall B-. Seven-two percent were sitting in seats because they like animated movies.  Per iSpot.TV, Lionsgate spent $13.1M on such networks as Nick, ABC, Cartoon Network and E!. The animated pic was financed by Splash Entertaiment. It’s expected to see an 80% Saturday surge over its estimated Friday of $1.45M. .

The top 10 films for MLK weekend 2016, Jan. 15-18. Calculations are based on late night East Coast results. Updates during Saturday AM:

1.) Ride Along 2 (UNI), 3,175 theaters / $12M Fri./ 3-day cume: $34.1M/ 4-day: $40M / Wk 1

2.) The Revenant (FOX), 3,559 theaters (+184) / $9.3MFri. (-35%) / 3-day cume: $31.4M (-21%)/4-day: $37M/ Total cume: $95.1M / Wk 4

3.) Star Wars: The Force Awakens (DIS), 3,822 theaters (-312) / $6.4M Fri. (-40%)/ 3-day cume: $26.2M (-38%) /4-day: $33.3M/ Total cume: $859.2M/ Wk 5

4). 13 Hours… (PAR), 2,389 theaters / $5.9M Fri. / 3-day cume: $16.8M/4-day: $20M/ Wk 1

5). Daddy’s Home (PAR), 3,322 theaters (-161) / $2.4M Fri. (-41%)/ 3-day cume: $8.98M (-40%)/4-day: $10.8M Total cume: $130.8M / Wk 4

6.) Norm of the North (LION) 2,411 theaters / $1.58M Fri. / 3-day cume: $6.4M/4-day: $8.5M/ Wk 1

7). The Big Short (PAR), 1,765 theaters (-764) / $1.6M Fri.(-11%) / 3-day cume: $5.2M (-15%) /$4-day: $6.3M/ Total cume: $51.6M / Wk 6

8). The Forest (FOC), 2,509 theaters  (+58)/ $1.6M Fri. (-67%) / 3-day cume: $5.4M (-57%)/4-day: $6.2M/Total: $21.5M/Wk 2

9.) Sisters (UNI), 2,313 theaters (-551) / $1.36M Fri. (-40%) / 3-day cume: $4.4M (-38%) /4-day: $5.1M/ Total cume: $81.5M / Wk 5

10.) The Hateful Eight (TWC), 2,385 theaters (-553) / $1M Fri. (-47%) / 3-day cume: $3.4M (-47%)/4-day: $4.2M/ Total cume: $48.3M / Wk 4

Notables:

13).Brooklyn (FSL), 687 theaters (+393) / $465K Fri.(+63%) / 3-day cume: $1.7M (+61%) /$4-day: $2.1M/ Total cume: $25M / Wk 11

14). Spotlight (ORF), 985 theaters (+617) / $445K Fri.(+80%) / 3-day cume: $1.65M (+78%) /$4-day: $2M/ Total cume: $31M / Wk 11

15). Carol (TWC), 790 theaters (+265) / $411K Fri.(-1%) / 3-day cume: $1.5M (+1%) /$4-day: $1.8M/ Total cume: $9.5M / Wk 9

Nannaku Prematho (CGX), 200 theaters / $268K Fri. / 3-day cume: $854K/4-day: $1M/ Wk 1

Detective Chinatown… (CHINA), 30 theaters / $101K Fri. / 3-day cume: $319K/4-day: $381K/ Wk 1

The Lady in the Van… (SPC), 4 theaters / $16K Fri. / 3-day cume: $53K/PTA: $12K/4-day: $65K/ Wk 1

2nd UPDATE, 12:45PM: Universal Ride Along 2 is looking great in early Friday matinees on course for a $48M-$50M four-day weekend according to industry estimates. Tailing the Ice Cube-Kevin Hart sequel is 20th Century Fox/New Regency’s The Revenant in No. 2 with a FSSM between $32M-$34M, which could get the Alejandro Inarritu Oscar-nominated film in its fourth frame up to $92.1M by Monday. Disney’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens is 13 Hoursbetween $28M-$31M for No. 3 in its fifth weekend, raising its running stateside all-time cume to $854M-$857M by the end of the holiday weekend. Paramount’s Michael Bay war pic 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is right in sync with industry projections for a $23M FSSM, while Lionsgate’s family animated pic Norm of the North from Splash Entertainment is looking at a fifth place debut between $8M-$10M over the MLK holiday stretch.  Paramount’s The Big Short is currently projected at $6.5M in its sixth sesh raising its cume by Monday to $51.8M.

The first Ride Along drew mostly older females at 57% female audiences and 54% over 25. In early week ride along 2tracking, younger males were the popular first quad for Ride Along 2, with older women second. The young guys came out last night, and typically the older women will arrive tonight. Should Ride Along 2‘s estimates stay in place throughout the weekend, it will be a good day for comedy sequels. Recently at the B.O., we’ve seen comedy sequel openings pale greatly next to their first chapter’s – Ted 2 fell 38% in its FSS from Ted, and Horrible Bosses 2 dropped 45% in its debut from the first installment.

The bulk of those who shelled out for Ride Along 2 at 27% told PostTrak that Ice Cube and Kevin Hart were the main reasons they came to the multiplex, while 22% cited the entire cast as a big influencer. The top Ride Along 2 marketing materials which impacted moviegoers the most were TV Ads (37%), in-theater trailers (34%), online trailers (23%) and word of mouth (19%).

1ST UPDATE, 9AM: Universal’s Ride Along 2 jumpstarted the MLK holiday weekend last night with $1.26M at 2,381 theaters, an improvement on the $1.06M Thursday previews generated by the first film. Ride Along is the second highest opener of the MLK weekend holiday with a $41.5M three-day take and a $48.6M four-day behind American Sniper (4-day: $107.2M).  Deadline sources believe that Ride Along 2 could beat those figures with a four-day weekend of $50M. Showtimes kicked off at 7PM yesterday.

Paramount’s 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi charted $900K from 1,995 theaters. Opening weekend estimates over four-days are in the low $20M range. The Michael Bay film carries an estimated production cost before P&A of $50M, while Ride Along has a $40M price tag.

Rentrak’s PostTrak, which polls moviegoers continually throughout a film’s opening weekend, reports that Ride Along 2 drew mostly older men at 54% males with over 25 at 51%. Eighty (80%) percent of the crowd rated Ride Along 2 excellent or very good (vs. Ride Along‘s 83%), with 72% saying it met their expectations. In regards to word of mouth, 56% of the Ride Along 2 crowd said they would definitely recommend the Kevin Hart-Ice Cube comedy sequel to a friend, while 85% know at least five people who are going to see the movie.

Last night’s audience broke down as follows: African Americans (37%), Hispanic (26%), Caucasian (26%), and Asian (11%). Of those demos, Ride Along 2 saw a respective increase in Hispanic and Asian moviegoers who repped 15% and 8% of Ride Along‘s audience.

Ride Along‘s Thursday showtimes back in January 2014, which were in play at 1,727 sites commencing at 8PM, bested the preview nights for Uni’s  The Best Man Holiday ($689K at 1,402 runs’ $30.1M FSS).

revenant20th Century Fox/New Regency’s The Revenant was the top grossing film yesterday with an estimated $4M, raising its cume to $58.2M. In the wake of its 12 Oscar noms, the Leonardo DiCaprio frontier thriller was the top seller on Fandango. Disney’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens filed second with $3.1M and a running estimated cume of $825.9M.