Ben Livesey and Sarika Gangar (c) 2014, Bloomberg News. “Ride Along,” the buddy comedy with Kevin Hart and Ice Cube, placed first in U.S. and Canadian theaters for a second weekend, collecting $21.2 million for Comcast’s Universal Pictures.
“I, Frankenstein,” a revisiting of Mary Shelley’s classic monster story, flopped. It took in $8.3 million to place sixth for Lions Gate Entertainment in the only wide release debut this weekend, Rentrak Corp. said in an emailed statement on Sunday. The film, starring Aaron Eckhart, had a production budget of $65 million, according to Box Office Mojo.
Receipts of “Ride Along,” together with those of the military drama “Lone Survivor” have lifted Universal to No. 1 in domestic sales so far in 2014. The popularity of both films have been aided by the appeal of their leading actors — comedian Hart in “Ride Along” and Mark Wahlberg in “Lone Survivor,” a film about Navy SEAL commandos.
“Universal has to be thrilled by the way they’ve started the year,” said Phil Contrino, chief analyst for researcher BoxOffice.com.
In “Ride Along,” Hart’s character, a security guard, agrees to join his girlfriend’s brother, an Atlanta cop played by Ice Cube, on a 24-hour patrol to prove he’s worthy of marrying his sister and joining the force. The film got a 73 percent audience approval rating, according to aggregator site RottenTomatoes.com, and has benefited from Hart’s growing popularity with cinema goers.
“Ride Along” was projected to take in $20.5 million in its second weekend, according to BoxOffice.com.
“I, Frankenstein” is based on the novel by Kevin Grevioux. Eckhart plays Adam Frankenstein, who finds himself in the middle of a war between two immortal clans. It also features Bill Nighy, Yvonne Strahovski, Miranda Otto and Grevioux. Stuart Beattie, a writer on the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, wrote and directed.
The movie was projected to garner $15.3 million in sales and got a 5 percent positive rating in reviews compiled by RottenTomatoes.com.
“Beattie’s solemn, ho-hum film largely shuns Shelley’s anguished creator as a character and turns his lonely monster into a football between the forces of good and evil,” wrote Nicolas Rapold in the New York Times.
Among returning films, “Lone Survivor,” about a failed U.S. mission to track down an al-Qaida leader in Afghanistan, generated $12.6 million for Universal to place second in its fifth week. It has collected $93.6 million in domestic ticket sales since Dec. 25.
With $152 million as of Thursday, Universal has commanded a 21 percent share of the U.S. and Canadian box office this year, according to Box Office Mojo. Viacom’s Paramount Pictures was second with 20 percent.
“The Nut Job,” an animated picture from Open Road Films, placed third with $12.3 million in its second weekend, according to Rentrak. About a cantankerous squirrel called Surly who’s banished from his park and forced to survive in the city, the movie has generated $40.3 million to date in domestic theaters.
“Frozen,” the animated feature from Walt Disney, placed fourth with $9 million. The movie has collected $347.8 million domestically, according to Box Office Mojo.
Weekend revenue for the top 10 films rose 13 percent to $92.1 million from the year-earlier period, Rentrak said. Domestic box-office sales year to date are $824.9 million, up 8 percent from a year earlier.