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Universal Continues Box Office Momentum As 'Ride Along 2' Finishes On Top; Fox's 'Revenant' Holds Strong In Second

Universal Continues Box Office Momentum As 'Ride Along 2' Finishes On Top; Fox's 'Revenant' Holds  Strong In Second

Besides Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS), no studio had a better 2015 than Universal, and executives at the Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA)-owned Universal were hoping that would continue into the new year; so far so good.

Just as it did in 2014, the "Ride Along" franchise easily rose to the top of the box office, with a reported $35 million over its opening three-day span. With Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. holiday taken into account, the sequel will hit just over $40 million in total earnings. The film will mark the sixth number one opening for Kevin Hart, seventh for director Tim Story and ninth for Ice Cube and uber-producer Will Packer.

While "Ride Along 2" will fall short of the original's four-day opening, which was closer to $50 million, the Ice Cube/Kevin Hart comedy had stiffer competition this time around. This included Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ: FOXA)'s "The Revenant," which fresh off its 12 Oscar nominations, will add another $39 million to its total bringing it up to an impressive $97 million.

Related Link: Fox Gets Nostalgic As Executives Discuss "24," "Prison Break" And "X-Files" Returns

Other Hard Hitters

Coming in third is Disney's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," which falls from the top spot after four weeks on top. "Force" continues to be a moneymaker, with $32 million over the four-day frame and a massive gross of over $858 million in the United States alone.

Paramount, a subsidiary of Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA), rounds out the top five with the debut of its action drama "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi," and family comedy "Daddy's Home." "13 Hours" is looking at a $16 million three-day result, with a $19 million four-day haul. That's just slightly below expectations.

The film, which had a solid "A" Cinemascore, had a harder time succeeding than past pro-military films "American Sniper" and "Lone Survivor," as Benghazi has come to take on more of a political connotation alienating some of its audience. With a budget of $50 million, it was still a good showing for the Michael Bay film.

Meanwhile "Daddy's Home" will add another $12 million over the four-day period pushing its total to a shockingly high $131 million. Paramount also saw newly-minted Oscar nominee "The Big Short" have its cumulative gross cross the $50 million mark.

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (USA) (NYSE: LGF), which watched its latest animated film "Norm of the North" open with a disappointing sixth place $9 million finish, will return to the market next week hoping for better luck.

The studio will release the Robert De Niro/Zac Efron comedy "Dirty Grandpas" alongside the Columbia/Sony Corp (ADR) (NYSE: SNE) distributed "The 5th Wave" and STX's horror film "The Boy" with "The Walking Dead's" Lauren Cohan.

Image Credit: Public Domain


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