For the third weekend in a row, Ride Along is the top draw at the domestic box office. The comedy earned an estimated $12.2 million on Super Bowl weekend, which comes in as the lowest first place total in more than a year. That Awkward Moment opened in third behind the incredibly long-lived Frozen. Thanks to Disney’s new sing-a-long version, the musical jumped back up to second place and is now achingly close to topping Despicable Me 2’s final North American gross.
|3.||That Awkward Moment||$9,010,000||$9|
|4.||The Nut Job||$7,613,000||$50.2|
|6.||Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit||$5,400,000||$38.9|
|9.||The Wolf of Wall Street||$3,550,000||$104|
Ride Along was down by 49% on its third weekend, which was good enough for a third consecutive box office win. That puts the comedy in the same company as recent three-peaters like Gravity and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, although its most recent win is probably a reflection on the field of competition rather than any other factor. In fact, the last time a film took first place with a lower total was back in December 2012, when Skyfall reclaimed the title with $10.7 million. So far, Ride Along has earned a total of $92.9 million, which keeps it ahead of both Paul Blart: Mall Cop and last year’s Identity Thief after seventeen days in theatres.
On this unofficial holiday counterprogramming is usually the name of the game. Female-centric movies like Dear John and last year’s Warm Bodies rank among the highest grossing debuts ever on Super Bowl weekend, along with Hannah Montana: The Best of Both Worlds Concert, which still holds the all-time record with $31.1 million. Given that history, That Awkward Moment seems like a good fit. The Focus Features pic stars two charismatic young men (and Zac Efron) and has been heavily marketed to young women. A perfect choice for Super Bowl weekend, right? Too bad about that R rating.
I’m sure there are many adults who go to the movies on Super Bowl weekend, unfortunately the marketing for That Awkward Moment wasn’t geared to the over-17 set. Over the last five years only a handful of R rated movies have opened on this particular weekend, including last year’s Sylvester Stallone misfire: Bullet to the Head. 2011’s Sanctum has the highest R-rated Super Bowl opening with just $9.4 million. Most expected That Awkward Moment to open higher – between $10 and $12 million – but it ended up falling short of even that modest goal. Still, considering the film’s reported budget of $8 million, today’s opening is far from tragic.
In terms of tragic, look no further than Labor Day. The drama from Juno director Jason Reitman could have been a contender this awards season – if things had worked out differently. Labor Day received terrible early reviews (it’s currently at 32% on Rotten Tomatoes) and was subsequently shifted out of its original, Oscar-friendly late-December release date. This weekend’s less-competitive slot didn’t help, however. Labor Day earned an estimated $5.3 million from 2,584 locations, or well below the $8 million that was expected. In terms of comparable openings, Labor Day is on par with Revolutionary Road, which opened to $5.1 million in January 2009. Then again, Revolutionary Road reached that amount in just 1,058 locations and had three Oscar nominations under its belt by the time it expanded nationwide, so maybe it’s not such an apt comparison after all.
From the tragic to the triumphant, I give you Frozen. Disney’s sing-a-long print of the film hit 2,057 locations on Friday and played well enough after ten long weeks to secure a second place finish. If Frozen can stay in the top five for two more frames, it will tie the run of Avatar – the only film of the last decade to spend twelve consecutive weeks in the chart’s upper fifth. Frozen has already earned $864.4 million worldwide and is now less than $10 million away from overtaking Despicable Me 2 to become North America’s fifth biggest animated release of all time.
Then again, next weekend brings the long-awaited The Lego Movie, which could finally signal the end of Frozen’s family-oriented box office domination. The Warner Bros. release is expected to easily win the frame with $40 million or more. Also new next week is The Monuments Men, another one-time Oscar contender banished to the box office backwaters, and Vampire Academy, expected to follow in the footsteps of last year’s not-at-all-successful young-adult adaptation Beautiful Creatures.