It's no secret January is a slow month at theaters.
Usually, it's the month for a few horror flicks to debut ("Paranormal Activity," "Devil's Due"), and there's always at least one mega bomb ("I, Frankenstein").
Despite that, Universal's been defying the odds with two break-out hits.
Here's a look at the past two box-office weekends. Take a look at the top two spots.
Weekend of 1/17/14:
Weekend of 1/24/14:
With no real competition at the box office (sure, there's Disney's strong horse "Frozen" which is nearing $1 billion), "Ride Along" and "Lone Survivor" have been able to take serious advantage at theaters.
"Ride Along" features Kevin Hart as a security guard who goes on a 24-hour-patrol with his cop brother-in-law (Ice Cube). The film may not have been received well by critics; however, audience reception is great and the film has made $75.5 million since its release less than two weeks ago. It cost an estimated $25 million to produce.
The movie comes from Tim Story, the same man who directed 2012's box-office breakout "Think Like a Man." Don't remember the film? It stopped the four-week run of "The Hunger Games" atop the box office upon its April debut.
However, the main star power here is Kevin Hart, who's becoming a huge star fast.
Forget his role in Warner Bros.' "Grudge Match" at the end of last year. After "Think Like A Man," and the comedian's successful stand-up film "Let Me Explain," Hart will flood theaters with a few movies this year — "Think Like A Man Too" and "About Last Night." He's definitely someone to keep your eye on this year.
Right now, "Ride Along" currently holds the highest-grossing opening weekend for the year at $41.5 million and may continue to hold that record for a while even with the "RoboCop" reboot coming up in a fortnight. Estimates for the Sony/Columbia Pictures flick are currently placing the film around a $25 million opening.
Universal's other gem of the moment, "Lone Survivor" is based on a true story following four NAVY SEALs during a mission in Afghanistan.
Starring Mark Wahlberg, the film nearly debuted bigger than "Ride Along" at $37.8 million when the film had its wide release. The movie has continued to have great word of mouth and will soon cross the $100 million mark.
That's good news for the studio after a disappointing blow with "47 Ronin" at the end of last year — the costly $175 million+ Keanu Reeves' samurai picture brought in $121 million worldwide.
With a teen flick out this weekend, Focus Features' "That Awkward Moment" starring Zac Efron and Michael B. Jordan ("Fruitvale Station"), it should be another good weekend for the two Universal films. However, it will also face some competition from the re-release of "Gravity" in 3-D and IMAX and a sing-along version of "Frozen."
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