Source: Scott Mendelson / Forbes
Universal’s Ride Along dominated the Martin Luther King Day weekend, wracking up a superb $41.2 million over its Fri-Sun frame and is projected to earn around $47.8 million over the holiday. The debut is the largest in Martin Luther King Day weekend history, ahead of the $40m/$46m four-day debut of Cloverfield in 2008 as well as the biggest Fri-Sun opening in January history. After successful stand-up comedy theatrical releases and supporting roles in hits like Think Like A Man, Kevin Hart’s moment has arrived. Oh, and Ice Cube helped too! Universal (a division of Comcast CMCSA +0.07%) has a new franchise as their $25m action comedy will nearly double its budget in the first four days of release.
This is indeed a coronation of sorts for Kevin Hart, similar to how IdentityThief’s $34m debut announced the official “face on the poster” stardom of Melissa McCarthy last year. And yes, Ice Cube was just the right foil, as he’s put in his time fronting leggy hits like Barbershop and Are We There Yet?. The film played 57% female, 54% over 25, 50% African-American, 30% Hispanic, and 12% Caucasian. Hart has two ensemble films coming up, About Last Night over Valentine’s Day weekend and Think Like A Man Too on June 20th. After that it’s The Wedding Ringer in 2015, and we can surely expect Rise of the Dark Ride Along to pop up sometime in 2016.