Between newcomers Ride Along 2 and 13 Hours, along with holdovers The Revenant and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, this is likely to be one of the biggest MLK weekends on record.
Ride Along 2 comes out exactly two years after the first, and 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is being released one year after the incredible opening of American Sniper.
Regardless of the final product, the original Ride Along was a very successful crowd pleaser, and Ride Along 2 seems to be mostly offering more of the same. Critics haven’t exactly been on board, giving it a whopping 5% on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s way below the originals 18%, but still likely won’t have a massive impact on the films opening this weekend.
So how high can Ride Along 2 go this weekend? Well, with inflation, the original made around $52M in its opening four day weekend back in 2014. A 2 year wait isn’t too long for a comedy, and seems like it can manage to retain most of its audience. The budget saw a slight bump, going from $25M to $40M. Even though it’s likely going to make almost all of its profit from the domestic market, an opening of over $40M seems likely this weekend.
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi seems to have the most breakout potential this weekend. While early tracking has it in the mid $20M range, it seems very likely that it will wind up with over $30M. First off, both American Sniper and Lone Survivor were both released around this time of year and far surpassed their expectations. Adding in the highly controversial Benghazi aspect and some less-than-subtle marketing (including a full length trailer during several of the GOP debates) this seems like it can get the same audience as both of those films. Pro-military action films are almost a guarantee, and adding in a Holiday weekend and the Benghazi story seems like it guarantees a strong debut this weekend.
The third and final wide release of the weekend is Norm of the North, which seems to be going after The Nut Job‘s success. There are several similarities between the two; both are extremely cheap animated films from no-name studios and are going after a much smaller audience than something like a Dreamworks or Pixar film. The budget for North is just $18M, making it one of the cheapest animated wide-releases in years. However, the lack of marketing or a recognizable brand will likely prevent it from getting past $15M or so over the four day weekend.
As far as holdovers go, The Revenant may end up with over $30M over the Holiday weekend thanks to excellent word of mouth and a slew of Oscar nominations. Star Wars: The Force Awakens may hit around $20M-$30M for the four day. If it can top $18M, that will be enough to top the adjusted domestic gross of Avatar and bump it up to 14th place all time. Two new wide releases will certainly do some damage, but it seems like this will be its first weekend where it doesn’t take first place.
- Ride Along 2 – $35M ($41M Four Day)
- 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi – $30M ($38M Four Day)
- The Revenant – $26M ($31M Four Day)
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens – $22M ($28M Four Day)
- Daddy’s Home – $8M ($11M Four Day)
Bar for Success
Ride Along made $52M (adjusted) over the four day weekend back in 2014. If Ride Along 2 can hit $40M by Monday, it’s a win. 13 Hours has a $50M budget and is probably going to make 95% of its gross from the domestic audience, so if it can hit $30M over the four day, it’s in good shape.
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