I, Frankenstein Flops; Ride Along Tops as Box Office Slides
By John Hamann
January 26, 2014
Welcome to the post-Martin Luther King Jr. weekend at the box office, where the lone new release, I, Frankenstein, dug a hole and hid, and Universal celebrates another weekend as the distributor of the top two films at the box office, taking about one-third of the overall box office.
Our number one film for the second straight weekend is Ride Along, the new comedy with Ice Cube and Kevin Hart, and directed by Tim Story, the successful man behind Barbershop and Think Like a Man. After opening to a January record $41.6 million over three days and a MLK Jr. weekend record of $48.6 million over four, reality comes crashing in quickly. The Universal comedy earned another $21.2 million this weekend, off an ‘it-could-be-worse’ percentage drop of 49%. Long weekend follow-ups often look like hangovers, as over the previous weekend, the Sunday behaves more like a Saturday since no one has to go to school or work on Monday. Just keeping the drop where it is could be considered a success, as the previous record holder, Cloverfield, fell 68% in its second weekend, moving from $40.1 million to $12.7 million.
For Universal, they have to be extremely pleased with where Ride Along is heading. This one cost only $25 million to make and after only two weekends, it has a gross so far of $75.4 million. Ice Cube may not be known for leggy films, but he’s been in a few. 21 Jump Street opened to $36.3 million, but still managed an opening-to-total multiplier of 3.8, finishing with $138.4 million. The first Barbershop movie opened to $20.6 million and finished with $75.8 million, which is a 3.7 multiplier. Even the Barbershop sequel opened to $24.2 million and finished with $65.1 million, good for a 2.7 multiplier. If Ride Along were to earn that 2.7 multiplier, it would finish with $112 million. I see it doing a little bit better than that, finishing with about $120 million, keeping in mind that $25 million production investment.
Universal also has the number two film, Lone Survivor, which has been number one or number two for three consecutive weekends. After turning in a $22.1 million result last weekend, Lone Survivor dropped 43% in this frame, earning $12.6 million. The studio may have been looking for somewhat better legs from their well-reviewed war picture; however, given its $40 million budget and gross so far of $93.6 million, I don’t think they are going to cry too much. Lone Survivor has made a couple million overseas, but as expected, it’s causing no big waves away from home. Still, Universal is going to have two $100 million films before Valentine’s Day, and then release Endless Love ON February 14th. Look for Lone Survivor to finish with about $110 million, and combined with Ride Along, the two films should bring in over $235 million, against a spend of only $65 million. Universal may not have a major Oscar contender in Lone Survivor, but this start should make up for it.