1. Ride Along 2 (review here)- $34M
It was inevitable that something would eventually take down Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and it was just as likely it would be a film like Ride Along 2. The sequel to Kevin Hart and Ice Cube's hit comedy opened with a strong $34M and is projected for $39M through the MLK holiday. That said, it's still less than the then-record breaking numbers the first film earned on this same weekend two years ago. These movies aren't too expensive, though, with this one coming in at around $40M, and if it plays like the last one it will earn close to $150M when all is said and done. That's not too shabby for Hart, Cube, and director Tim Story who all have numerous successful franchises under their belts. Universal knows what they have here, so don't be surprised if word of a Ride Along 3 breaks by Tuesday morning.
2. The Revenant- $29.5M/$87.6M
What's a good way to celebrate 12 Academy Award nominations? Leaping ahead of Star Wars for second place at the box office. Not only that, but it's looking like one of Leonardo DiCaprio's most successful films, which nobody could have fathomed a few months ago given the grim material.
3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens- $25.1M/$851M
Passing $1B internationally is a pretty good consolation for slipping into third place. In a lot of weeks the $25M weekend would have been enough to top the chart, which just goes to show how strong Star Wars still is after five weeks.
4. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (review here)- $16M
Want to know how to turn a sure-fire hit into...well, not a hit? Look no further than the marketing for 13 Hours, Michael Bay's "account" of the 2012 terrorist attack on our diplomatic compound in Lybia. Paramount and Bay himself rallied together to pitch the film largely to conservatives, plastering ads for it all over Fox News and having the real-life security officers appearing on the network's programming. The result was that anyone who doesn't still think of Benghazi as an open issue, meaning non-conservatives, were turned off. The marketing for American Sniper, which similarly appeals to conservatives, was much smarter and more balanced, which is why it ended its run with over $540M. Granted, it had a much bigger star in Bradley Cooper and a lot of awards support, but that doesn't account for this huge of a gap. All of that said, the film isn't likely to be a flop, and for Paramount it's a definite win since it got Bay to direct one more Transformers movie.
5. Daddy's Home- $9.3M/$129.2M
6. Norm of the North (review here)- $6.6M
What the f&#k is a Norm of the North? Truthfully I had never heard of it before the screening invites went out, and apparently nobody went to see it, perhaps figuring it was a better idea to wait for Kung Fu Panda 3. The animated film features the voices of Heather Graham, Ken Jeong, and Rob Schneider, hardly a powerhouse lineup.
7. The Forest- $5.7M/$21.1M
8. The Big Short- $5.2M/$50.5M
9. Sisters- $4.4M/$81.8M
10. The Hateful Eight- $3.4M/$47.5M