Universal’s buddy comedy ‘Ride Along’ tops box office with $41.2 million


“Ride Along,” the buddy comedy with Kevin Hart and Ice Cube, topped domestic theaters in the first three days of the holiday weekend with $41.2 million, giving Universal Pictures its second straight No. 1 release.

“Lone Survivor,” a military drama also released by Comcast-owned Universal, fell to second place with $23.2 million in U.S. and Canadian theaters, Rentrak said in an emailed statement on Sunday. “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” generated $17.2 million in its debut for Viacom’s Paramount Pictures in fourth place.

“Ride Along” features Hart as a security guard who tries to impress his prospective brother-in-law. Universal, which ranked third among studios last year, is benefiting from comedian Hart’s growing popularity, said Phil Contrino, chief analyst for researcher BoxOffice.com. “Lone Survivor,” an action drama based on true events of Navy SEAL commandos, gives the studio a contrasting choice to offer audiences over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend.

“Hart is very rapidly become an ‘A’ list star,” said Phil Contrino, chief analyst for researcher BoxOffice.com. “Both movies speak to the power of diversifying.”

The movie beat a forecast of $34 million from BoxOffice.com and contributed to a 29 percent jump in the weekend take ($180 million) for all films compared to a year ago, Rentrak said.

In “Ride Along,” Hart’s character agrees to join his girlfriend’s brother, an Atlanta cop played by Ice Cube, on a 24-hour patrol to prove he’s worthy of marrying his sister and joining the force. The movie got a 17 percent positive rating on RottenTomatoes, a review aggregator.

“The plot isn’t much, but Mr. Hart’s fans, at least, are well served by the way his manic energy bounces off Ice Cube’s growly stoicism,” wrote Neil Genzlinger in The New York Times.