The Kevin Hart and Ice Cube comedy "Ride Along" has little to fear at the box office as "I, Frankenstein," the only new film in wide release, will likely have trouble coming to life.
The 3D horror-action hybrid, starring Aaron Eckhart as Victor Frankenstein's monster 200 years after its creation, could generate $12 million to $14 million in ticket sales through Sunday in the U.S. and Canada, according to people who have seen pre-release audience surveys, though softer projections put it at $10 million.
Lionsgate is distributing the reimagining of Mary Shelley's 19th-century novel, and the film was made by Lakeshore Entertainment and Hopscotch Features for about $65 million.
Adapted from Kevin Grevioux's graphic novel by writer-director Stuart Beattie, "I, Frankenstein" takes place in an alternate present-day universe where demons and gargoyles battle for domination, with Dr. Frankenstein's immortal creation caught in the struggle.
Lakeshore is the production company behind the supernatural "Underworld" series, that latest of which (2012's "Underworld: Awakening") grossed $160 million worldwide.
"Ride Along," the Universal Pictures buddy-comedy about a security gaurd (Hart) trying to impress his girlfriend's cop brother (Cube), will likely hold the top spot at the box office after arriving Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend with the biggest January opening ever, not accounting for inflation.
If ticket sales fall about 50% from last weekend's three-day take, it would bring in roughly $20 million, though it could do a bit better than that, given the largely positive response from moviegoers and the lack of genre competition.
The Mark Walhberg military saga "Lone Survivor," also from Universal, could drop 40% from last weekend for a gross of $13 million, adding to the nearly $80 million it has grossed to date.
Open Road Films' animated 3D comedy "The Nut Job" could challenge "Lone Survivor" for the No. 2 spot, likely holding on strong from last week with little else to draw families trekking to cinemas. Disney's highly successful animated musical "Frozen" has been in release since late November but still grabbed fifth place last weekend.
Other holdovers looking for additional revenue over the quiet weekend include Paramount Pictures' Tom Clancy franchise reboot "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit," the Oscar-nominated "American Hustle" and the Weinstein Co.'s "August: Osage County." Re-released awards contenders such as "Gravity" and "12 Years a Slave" should continue to ride the Oscar wave.
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