Ride Along 2 cruises its way to the top, The Revenant holds its ground despite setbacks, and the Force is finally dethroned - but you better believe it's still awake and going strong!

Alright, let's break this down further now. Coming out of this weekend we probably shouldn't be too surprised to see that Ride Along 2 did as well as it did. The first installment which came out exactly 2 years ago this weekend took the number 1 spot in the box office as well. What with it being an easy to digest comedy plot with stereotypical gags and such I'm sure this was a huge attraction for audience goers that just wanted a break from all the hype of the last few weekends. Great for them. However, while Universal's sequel came out on top this weekend, it definitely didn't do as well as its predecessor. Having a budget of nearly 160% that of its former film's budget the film not only brought in less overall in gross, it was outmatched dollar for dollar. 

The original Ride Along made back its budget and then an easy 15 million more it's opening weekend, where this follow up film fell short of that with only making $1 million more than it's budget (I know, champagne problems, am I right?). And the overall average per theatre dropped as well even though the film opened in 500+ more theatres this time around. All that to say, I'm sure movie goers can expect a follow up (but God knows why they'd want it) in another two or so years as this installment in the franchise will still equal a decent payout for the studio. Which is a pretty common trend in the industry.

Shifting focus to The Revenant, which had what I'm calling an okay weekend, brought in another $37.5 million (heck, I'd take that kind of okay weekend) and held its #2 spot for it's second week in a row. While the film failed to make back 50% of its budget opening weekend the gap is getting smaller as DiCaprio's latest hit is now sitting nicely at just over $95 million in overall gross. It will most likely take another 2, maybe even 3 weekends, to surpass its budget threshold, but there's no doubt in my mind that it will. The film brings Oscar lovers everywhere breathtaking cinematography, superb acting, and a story that will stay with you long after you've left your seat. 

Now, let's talk about some relative surprises that actually made me do a second take at the Box Office this weekend. First, 13 hours - Michael Bay's latest flix. While I'm not ruling this film out entirely yet (even though I have little faith in this man as a legitimate storyteller) until I see it, the film looks like it has promise. And man is a January opening it's best chance of success. But you see, that's just it - it isn't doing so hot. Having took about $50 million to make, the film opened nationwide at 2,300+ theatres and only brought in $19 million, a solid $6 million from where it should be right now to be even remotely considered successful. These aren't great numbers for the Paramount exes to be looking at, and there's no telling if it's going to pick up much steam.

Why's that you wonder? Well, while it is a Michael Bay film, I don't think that's what caused such a misstep in weekend success. My honest opinion is that it's actually due to the fact that it's audience was relatively cut in half. While the subject matters are nothing alike, audience demographics that would typically turn up in full support of such a warzone drama were distracted with other films like The Revenant, the Forest, and even Star Wars to a certain degree. At the end of the day, it just didn't have the emph it needed to hold a super successful opening spot. Spot #4 is still nothing to sneer at, and perhaps this coming weekend it'll do better, but currently it is on a bit of a struggle bus. 

The second sad surprise this week, for me at least, was seeing The Force Awakens slip to spot #3. While inevitable, and I do get that, I expected the film to push The Revenant down to #3 and it sit at number 2. While it also lost over 300 theatres this weekend, it's in it's 6th week now being theatre released and it's still in the top 3. That's impressive anyway you look at it. Oh, and it also just surpassed $1 billion in global gross. I wonder if they'll make a sequel? Nah, probably not!

Some off the wall results that deserve mentioning this week include A24's latest heavy hitter, Room - a film about a kidnapped mother and her son's attempt and escape from their captors imprisonment - Sony Classics' Son of Saul, and Cohen Media Group's Mustang. Now I don't know much about the latter two, but Room has been a film I've been anxiously waiting to go see for some weeks now. It's been open for 14 weeks (so I should probably get on this) and while it hasn't done super successfully at all, it did see a surge in theatres as it showed in 205 new theaters, up from 88 last week. The latter two are doing even worse, but saw similar jumps in the number of theatres they were shown in this week. 

So there it is friends - a slight, but I suppose not all too shocking weekend for the movies. If Hollywood has taught us anything it's that sequels make bank and studios will resell you the same old same old if they know they can get you into their seats. Alright, I suppose that's a bit harsh, but let's be real, was there really anything all that innovative about the films that opened this weekend? Not really. And sadly, the Box Office saw a bit of a drop in total overall weekend gross from it's top 12. While the first two weekends of this year saw more gross than these weekends have in the past several years, this weekend (the 3rd of the year) say just slightly lower numbers than the last two year's 3rd weekend Box Office. Here's to hoping it bounces back!

-Matthew Miller

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