Two tales of men thrust into uncomfortable circumstances are battling for the weekend box office.
The Kevin Hart-Ice Cube buddy-cop comedy "Ride Along 2" looks to be the early winner, taking in an estimated $12 million on Friday, according to estimates. Although the sequel to the goofy action flick fell short of the original's opening performance by $2.4 million, it still looks to pull down more than $35 million over the holiday weekend.
However, as so often happens in Alejandro G. Iñárritu 's "The Revenant," there is something menacing just over the horizon. That film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the put-upon frontiersman Hugh Glass, could give a grizzly-bear-sized mauling to "Ride Along's" top slot.
"Revenant" rustled up $9.3 million on Friday, which was good for second place. But positive Oscar buzz (the film scored 12 nominations) might be strong enough to get to the mountaintop in a wide release this weeekend.
"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" came in for a third-place landing with a shade more than $6.3 million, bringing its domestic total to a Death Star-sized $832 million so far.
But the overachiever of the weekend might be Michael Bay's "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi." That film, an action thriller set during the attack on the American embassy, pulled in $5.9 million in its debut, which was enough for fourth, and it may prove a durable contender. It earned an "A" Cinemascore from audiences and performed well in the same Southern states that helped make "American Sniper" a hit.
The last new film of the weekend, "Norm of the North," came in at $1.58 million for its opening night. As tales of frosty malevolence go, the animated comedy about a wiseacre polar bear was no "Revenant," but it still looks good for an $8-million opening weekend.