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Monday, September 01, 2014, 3:24 a.m.
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Ride Along parks at No. 1 spot

By BEN LIVESEY AND LINDA SANDLER BLOOMBERG

This article was published January 24, 2014 at 3:29 a.m.

l-to-r-kevin-hart-and-ice-cube-lead-the-lineup-in-ride-along-the-new-film-from-the-director-and-the-producer-of-the-blockbuster-comedy-think-like-a-man-when-a-fast-talking-guy-joins-his-girlfriends-brother-a-hot-tempered-cop-to-patrol-the-streets-of-atlanta-he-gets-entangled-in-the-officers-latest-case-now-in-order-to-prove-that-he-deserves-his-future-bride-he-must-survive-the-most-insane-24-hours-of-his-life

(L to R) KEVIN HART and ICE CUBE lead the lineup in "Ride Along", the new film from the director and the producer of the blockbuster comedy "Think Like a Man". When a fast-talking guy joins his girlfriend's brother--a hot-tempered cop--to patrol the streets of Atlanta, he gets entangled in the officer's latest case. Now, in order to prove that he deserves his future bride, he must survive the most insane 24 hours of his life.

Ride Along, the buddy comedy with Kevin Hart and Ice Cube, topped sales in domestic theaters over the long weekend with $48.6 million, giving Universal Pictures its second straight No. 1 release.

Lone Survivor, a military drama also released by Universal, fell to second place with about $26 million in U.S. and Canadian theaters Friday through Monday, Rentrak Corp. said. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit generated $18 million in its debut for Paramount Pictures, coming in fourth.

“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,gave the studio a contrasting choice to offer audiences over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.

“Hart is very rapidly becoming an ‘A’ list star,” said Contrino. “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 with a year ago, Rentrak said.

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

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, starring Chris Pine, is a reboot of the Paramount franchise about the CIA operative, based on the Tom Clancy novels. Pine takes over in the title role from Ben Affleck, who was featured in 2002’s The Sum of All Fears.

The movie, which also features Kevin Costner and Keira Knightley, got a 63 percent positive rating on RottenTomatoes. It was projected to collect $22 million.

The Nut Job, an animated film about a cantankerous squirrel called Surly who’s banished from his park and forced to survive in the city,collected $25.7 million in its debut for Open Road Films, placing third. It got a 13 percent rating on RottenTomatoes and was forecast to have $11.4 million in receipts.

The horror movie Devil’s Due, the fourth debut in wide release last weekend, collected $9 million for 20th Century Fox to place seventh. The film follows a newlywed couple who find themselves dealing with an earlier-than-planned pregnancy after a lost night on their honeymoon.

Among returning films, Frozen, the animated movie about two estranged princesses in an icy world, placed fifth with $16 million for Walt Disney Co.

Oscar-nominated movies 12 Years a Slave, about a free black man sold into slavery, and August: Osage County, following a family that reunites after the death of the matriarch’s husband, expanded in wide release last weekend.

At No. 17, 12 Years a Slave collected about $2 million for Fox Searchlight, bringing its total to about $41 million. August: Osage County, which garnered nominations for Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, collected $8.8 million at No. 8 for Weinstein Co.

MovieStyle, Pages 34 on 01/24/2014

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