When a fast-talking guy joins his girlfriend’s brother—a hot-tempered cop—to patrol the streets of Atlanta, he gets entangled in the officer’s latest case. Now, in order to prove that he deserves his future bride, he must survive the most insane 24 hours of his life. For the past two years, high-school security guard Ben has been trying to show decorated APD detective James that he’s more than just a video-game junkie who’s unworthy of James’ sister, Angela. When Ben finally gets accepted into the academy, he thinks he’s earned the seasoned policeman’s respect and asks for his blessing to marry Angela. Knowing that a ride along will demonstrate if Ben has what it takes to take care of his sister, James invites him on a shift designed to scare the hell out of the trainee. But when the wild night leads them to the most notorious criminal in the city, James will find that his new partner’s rapid-fire mouth is just as dangerous as the bullets speeding at it.
||January 17th, 2014 (Wide) by Universal|
||April 15th, 2014 by Universal Home Entertainment|
||PG-13 for sequences of violence, sexual content and brief strong language.|
(Rating bulletin 2275, 6/5/2013)
||African-American, Buddy Cop, In-Laws / Future In-Laws, Undercover, Organized Crime, Corrupt Cops, Fantasy Sequence, Intertitle, Epilogue|
|Production Method:||Live Action|
|Creative Type:||Contemporary Fiction|
||Cube Vision, Rainforest Films, Relativity Media|
It is a busy week on the home market with five films that either opened at least semi-wide or expanded semi-wide. However, unlike last week, there's no monster hit like The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug leading the way. In fact, most of the semi-wide or wide releases on this week's list were critical and box office disappointments. Only Philomena did well with critics. Fortunately, it did well enough that it is a contender for Pick of the Week without even considering the extras on the DVD or Blu-ray. There are a few other new releases that are noteworthy, but most of them are catalog Blu-ray releases. These include Touch of Evil on Blu-ray and Double Indemnity on Blu-ray. In the end, I went with Touch of Evil, but I literally had to roll a dice to decide.
Ride Along is the second film I'm reviewing this weekend that earned bad reviews that already has a sequel in the works. I'm not surprised it is getting a sequel. After all, it did earn nearly $135 million on just a $25 million production budget, but a big box office doesn't mean high quality. Were the critics right to lambast this film? Or were moviegoers right to check it out in theaters? And if so, is the Blu-ray Combo Pack worth picking up?
The LEGO Movie didn't break the record for Biggest February Weekend, but it came close. The Monuments Men performed better than expected, but was still a very distant second place. On the other hand, Vampire Academy bombed, fully and completely. Compared to last week, even without The LEGO Movie, this week is almost better. With The LEGO Movie, this week is 76% better at $151 million. Compared to last year, The LEGO Movie opened with more than the top five made in 2013. Overall, the year-over-year growth was 46%. This is just a fantastic result no matter how you look at it. Year-to-date, 2014 has pulled in $1.12 billion, putting it 12% ahead of 2013's pace. It is obviously still too early to declare 2014 the winner, but this is still a fantastic start.
The first weekend of February should be the biggest with The LEGO Movie looking to dominate the box office, while The Monuments Men is expected to do respectable business over the weekend. The other wide release is Vampire Academy, which wasn't screened for critics. It is not aimed at a target demographic that cares about what critics think, but they still didn't screen the film for critics. This weekend last year, there were two wide releases, Identity Thief and Side Effects. The two films earned a combined $44 million during their opening weekend. The LEGO Movie will make more than that on its own. 2014 should easily win in the year-over-year competition.
Super Bowl turned into a blow-out, but still earned a record television audience. This explains why the overall box office numbers were down compared to last weekend. That said, there were some films that did well, including Ride Along, which completed the threepeat and by this time next week with be at over $100 million. On the other hand, the new releases really struggled. That Awkward Moment only managed third place, while Labor Day barely avoided the Mendoza Line. Week-over-week, the overall box office fell 26% to $86 million. Compared to last year, the box office also fell, but by only 3%. That said, 2014 is still ahead of 2013 by 6% at $943 million to $887 million, so the market is still healthy.
It's the Super Bowl weekend, so needless to say, the new releases are looking rather weak. Why would any studio want to release a film against what is the largest single sporting event of the year? There are two wide releases coming out, but neither is expected to make much of an impact. That Awkward Moment is the bigger of the two wide releases, but its reviews are terrible. It should still earn first place, because there's no competition to speak of. Labor Day's reviews are slightly better and its target demographic has very little crossover appeal with the Super Bowl. Even so, most think it will miss the top five. This weekend last year, Warm Bodies earned first place with just over $20 million. If That Awkward Moment earns $20 million, I will be shocked. It might not earn too much more than half of that.
I, Frankenstein died at the box office, as it missed the top five entirely. This gave Ride Along an easy road to first place over the weekend. Meanwhile, the rest of the top five all matched expectations, or came within a rounding error of doing so. This helped the overall box office somewhat. It was still a post-holiday frame and the total box office fell 34% to $117 million, but it could have been worse. Compared to last year, the overall box office was 4% higher, which is good news early in the year. 2014 has extended its lead over 2013 to 9% at $823 million to $754 million.
After a record-breaking weekend, it's a letdown this weekend. I, Frankenstein is the only wide release of the week and there's very little chance it will be a major hit at the box office. It might overtake Ride Along for top spot, but I wouldn't bet on it. Last year Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters was the biggest release of the week earning $19.69 million over the weekend, while it and Mama were the only two films to earn more than $10 million. We should have four films earning more than $10 million over the weekend, so 2014 should win in the year-over-year comparison.
The only film to top $10,000 on this week's per theater chart was Ride Along, which earned an average of $15,590. This is an amazing result for a January release. In fact, it would have been amazing for a limited release.
It was a record-breaking weekend with Ride Along earning the biggest January opening weekend and the biggest MLK long weekend. Needless to say, it crushed expectations. Additionally, The Nut Job overcame terrible reviews to earn a solid opening, at least according to estimates. Overall, the box office pulled in $176 million over the three-day weekend, which is 26% more than the three-day weekend last week and last year. Over the four-day weekend, the box office pulled in $211 million, or 28% more than last year's MLK long weekend. That's great news, as 2014 was below 2013's pace. In fact, after this weekend, 2014 has pulled ahead of 2013 by 8% at $671 million to $621 million.
At the beginning of the month, I thought this weekend would be a close race between Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and Ride Along. That might still be the case, but it is increasingly unlikely, as Jack Ryan's buzz hasn't kept pace with the buzz for Ride Along. Additionally, Jack Ryan has direct competition from Lone Survivor, which nearly set the January record last weekend and should remain potent this weekend. This weekend last year, Mama won the weekend with $28.40 million and I don't think Ride Along will top that. On the other hand, last year there were only three films that topped $10 million, while this year there could be as many as seven or eight. (All four wide releases have a shot at $10 million, but it is likely not all will get there. There are two holdovers that will earn more than $10 million. Finally, American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street might get an Oscar bounce back to $10 million.) Even in the worst case scenario, four films will crack $10 million. 2014 should win for the first time in the week-over-week comparison.
It's the first month of the new year, but the biggest hit might be a film released in December. Last month ended on a slow note with all five Christmas day releases failing to become hits, some more than others. (It's a little too soon to tell if The Wolf of Wall Street or The Secret Life of Walter Mitty will do well enough to break even any time soon, but neither is a serious hit.) There are still some December releases that will likely remain on the charts through the opening weekends of January, while there are some films that opened in limited release last month with a scheduled wide release this month. Of the purely January releases, I would guess Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit will be the biggest hit. Even then, it won't live up to the previous films in the franchise, even if you don't take inflation into account. Most of the rest of the new releases will be happy if they can become midlevel hits. Last January was led by Mama, which earned more than $70 million. I think Shadow Recruit will top that figure at the box office, while there are a similar number of likely box office bombs opening this year as there were last year. 2014 could start out ahead of 2013's pace, but it likely won't be a huge difference either way.
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