‘Ride Along’ cruising to victory over ‘Lone Survivor,’ ‘Jack Ryan’

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart in "Ride Along."
Ice Cube and Kevin Hart in “Ride Along.”
(Universal Pictures / Associated Press)

It looks like Kevin Hart will easily lock up a first-place finish at the box office during the busy Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, coming in ahead of last week’s victor “Lone Survivor” and the new “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.”

Universal Pictures’ buddy-cop comedy “Ride Along,” starring the fast-talking Hart alongside Ice Cube, grossed an estimated $41.2 million in ticket sales through Sunday in the U.S. and Canada and is on track to take in $47.8 million through Monday, beating all expectations.

Not adjusting for inflation, that would make it the highest-grossing Martin Luther King Jr. Day four-day weekend opener ever, topping 2008’s monster movie “Cloverfield,” which generated $46.1 million in its holiday debut. “Ride Along” cost $25 million to make.

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Critics were largely unimpressed by “Ride Along,” indicated by a 16% “fresh” rating from Rotten Tomatoes, but audiences were receptive, giving it a grade of A, according to the polling firm CinemaScore.

Last week’s No. 1 film, “Lone Survivor,” also from Universal, will land in second place, with an estimated gross of $23.2 million through Sunday. The estimated cumulative domestic take is $74 million for the $40-million film.

“The Nut Job,” a 3-D critter caper distributed by Open Road Films, grossed around $20.5 million, a strong result for an animated film not from a major studio. The movie, featuring the voices of celebrities including Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Gabriel Iglesias and Katherine Heigl, is in third place.

Paramount Pictures’ $60-million “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,” a reboot starring Chris Pine as the Tom Clancy-created CIA character, generated $17.2 million in ticket sales over three days, about in line with expectations. Reviews were mixed and moviegoers gave it a B CinemaScore grade.


WATCH: Cast, crew discuss the making of ‘Lone Survivor’

“Frozen,” the highly successful animated Disney musical, slid to fifth place with a three-day total of nearly $12 million, bringing its domestic total to around $333 million.

Meanwhile, the new low-budget found-footage fright-fest “Devil’s Due” scared up about $8.5 million through Sunday to finish in seventh behind “American Hustle,” which is nominated for 10 Academy Awards including best picture. The con-artist tale took in $10.6 million over three days, up 28% compared with last weekend.

The Weinstein Co.'s “August: Osage County,” nominated for two Oscars, added theaters and took in $7.6 million, up 6% from last weekend, while Paramount’s “Wolf of Wall Street,” up for five Academy Awards, brought in $7.5 million, down about 15%.


Disney’s “Saving Mr. Banks” rounded out the top 10 with a $4.15-million take, bringing its domestic total to $75.4 million.

“Gravity” and “Captain Phillips” capitalized on the Oscar buzz by expanding into more theaters after the nominations.


‘Lone Survivor’ ambushes ‘Frozen’ to top weekend box office


Kevin Hart and Ice Cube stake out box office with ‘Ride Along’

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Twitter: @rfaughnder