In an unexpected turn of events, the Ice Cube and Kevin Hart buddy cop film, Ride Along 2, unseats Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the box office after four weeks at No. 1. Of course, Star Wars would have eventually been dethroned, but no one knew it would be a Kevin Hart comedy sequel, or that it would be this early in the year. Ice Cube and Kevin Hart do have lots of star power. They have both been in the successful films before, so for Ride Along 2 to unseat Star Wars is not all that impossible to imagine.
Shadow and Act asked a great question regarding this box office surprise.
“What makes a film like Ride Along so popular?”
This is a good question. The plot is not particularly creative, the standard tropes are present, and Kevin Hart and Ice Cube do not offer anything new in terms of performance. In addition, Ride Along 2 is at 14 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics universally slamming the film.
So, again, what makes the film so popular? The first reason could be the release on MLK weekend. It’s nothing new that black-centered cinema is often released on Martin Luther King birthday weekend. It makes sense for studios to try to capitalize on this long weekend to attract black moviegoers. Another reason this film may be popular is because it is a simple, no-frills action comedy, that isn’t too heavy handed. It’s the perfect film to sit down, watch, relax, and turn off your brain for 90 minutes.
Ride Along 2 has also made an impressive amount of money this past weekend. The film was released on the same weekend in 2014, and even then, it was successful. Opening day in 2014, the film grossed $41 million and had an overall domestic total of over $135 million worldwide. This time around, the sequel grossed $40 million for the weekend — which was enough, as Ride Along unseats Star Wars the second week into the new year.
Now, just because Ride Along unseats Star Wars doesn’t mean it can’t bounce back. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is currently the No. 1 highest grossing movie of all time in North America, and internationally, the third highest grossing film of all time. Star Wars has pushed James Cameron’s Avatar to the side in North America by making $816 million to date. However, Star Wars sits behind Titanic at third in the global box office, (with Avatar being No. 1 around the world). There was hope that when Star Wars Episode VII premiered in China that it would surpass Avatar as No. 1 in the world. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
When the film opened up in China on January 9, it opened fairly strong, but dropped dramatically within three days, according to Forbes.
“Yes, the film seems to be falling faster than expected in China. Following a $33 million opening day, on a Saturday, the film plunged 35% to $20.7m on Sunday and then dropped another 65% on Monday for a $7.2m gross. It dropped 17% on Tuesday for a $6m gross and a new $66m four-day total.”
The China Film Insider claims that the 18-25 demographic was just not as excited for the film like North Americans. Box Office Mojo states that The Force Awakens has made $96 million in China to date, although it was projected to make way more. Scott Mendelson at Forbes explains why Star Wars may not make that big of a splash is because of the preconceived notion that the Chinese are as into Star Wars folk-lore as Americans.
The Chinese may not see it as a part of cinematic history, but just another science fiction film. Hence the lack of emergency in going to see it.
Now that its no mystery how Ride Along 2 unseated Star Wars: The Force Awakens, will it bounce back to No. 1? Or will it remain unseated? How long will Ride Along 2 stay on top?
[Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images]