'Ride Along' rolls over 'Jack Ryan' to win U.S. weekend box office

Sun Jan 19, 2014 1:16pm EST
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By Ronald Grover and Chris Michaud

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) - "Ride Along," a buddy cop comedy starring Kevin Hart and Ice Cube, collected $41.2 million in ticket sales to win the weekend box office race, leaving another new release, political thriller "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit," in the dust.

Last week's box office winner, the Afghanistan war tale "Lone Survivor," was second with ticket sales of $23.2 million, according to studio estimates provided by tracking firm Rentrak.

In a weekend crowded with four new films, "The Nut Job," the first animated release from Open Road Films, collected $20.6 million in ticket sales to claim third place.

Starring Chris Pine as the late author Tom Clancy's fictional CIA analyst, "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" took in $17.2 million over the first three days of the Martin Luther King holiday weekend for the No. 4 spot.

"Ride Along," which hip hop singer and star Ice Cube also produced, far surpassed Hollywood's $28 million opening weekend forecast and was the biggest three-day King Day holiday weekend opening ever. While only 10 of 47 reviews were favorable, according to the site Rotten Tomatoes, 94 percent of the audience surveyed on the site wanted to see it.

"The timing was really right on this one," said Nikki Rocco, president for domestic distribution at Universal Pictures which released the film, which cost about $25 million.

Noting that there had not really been another comedy since "Anchorman 2," which opened a month ago, Rocco said the audience skewed surprisingly female - 57 percent - and that "Ride Along" had even turned into a bit of a date movie.

Audiences graded it an A, according to CinemaScore which polls people who have seen films, boding well for the coming weeks, Rocco added.   Continued...

Cast member Ice Cube and his wife Kimberly Woodruff pose at the premiere of "Ride Along" at the TCL Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California January 13, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni