*it looks like the force has gone back to sleep as far as “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is concerned.
Yep, there’s a new champ at the box office. “Ride Along 2” roared into theaters and drove off with the top spot, overtaking the latest chapter in the space saga from the top spot it’s held for four weeks.
The follow up to the 2014 hit starring Kevin Hart and Ice Cube took in an estimated $34 million in North America through Sunday. This sets up the film to stay in first place through the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend to meet, if not exceed, its $40 million to $45 million in expected ticket sales through Monday.
“I think it starts with the filmmakers and the cast,” said Nick Carpou, Universal’s president of domestic distribution told the LA Times. “In sequels, audiences always play off of how much people like the characters the first time. As we’re trending to be No. 1 for the four-day holiday, our audience is wide and diverse.”
The first “Ride Along” found its audience over the same holiday weekend two years ago when it brought in $48.6 million domestically thanks to black moviegoers. The follow-up continued to benefit from the box-office draw of Hart and Cube as the duo (along with Tika Sumpter, Benjamin Bratt, Olivia Munn and Ken Jeong) pulled in a diverse audience playing equally (34% each) to blacks and Latinos, the LA Times report says.
Coming in 2nd place was 20th Century Fox’s revenge drama, “The Revenant.” It saw a box office take of $29.5 million in its fourth week after an initial limited release. It has grossed $87.7 million to date.