In the first truly busy weekend for new releases in 2014, Ice Cube and Kevin Hart took the competition, bent them over the knee and gave them a good spanking. Okay, you probably didn't want the image of those two spanking animated squirrels, demonic babies or Chris Pine in your head, but how else are we going to talk about the opening weekend for 'Ride Along'?

FilmWeekendPer Screen
1Ride Along$41,237,000$15,485$41,237,000
2Lone Survivor$23,239,000 (-38.6)$7,775$74,049,000
3The Nut Job$20,550,000$5,996$20,550,000
4Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit$17,200,000$5,078$17,200,000
5Frozen$11,971,000 (-18.7)
6American Hustle$10,600,000 (+27.7)$4,809$116,431,000
7Devil's Due$8,500,000$3,341$8,500,000
8August: Osage County$7,592,000 (+6.1)$3,702$18,181,000
9The Wolf of Wall Street$7,500,000 (-15.2)$3,886$90,277,000
10Saving Mr. Banks$4,147,000 (-36.7)$1,693$75,391,000

With a $41 million opening weekend, 'Ride Along' is already looking like it could be the first 2014 release to hit it big with audiences. In a way, it looks like this year's 'Identity Thief.' Mostly lousy reviews didn't keep the audiences away and the populist reaction has been very positive. Like Melissa McCarthy, people just plain like Kevin Hart (even Ice Cube must know that he's just along for the ride on this one), so it won't surprise us when 'Ride Along' tops out with over $100 million in a few weeks or so.

Among the other new releases, 'The Nut Job' performed second best, taking in $20 million and snagging second place. For many CG animated films, an opening like this would be devastating, but there's a reason this was dumped in January: with a budget of $42 million, it was fairly cheap to make. With this knowledge handy, 'The Nut Job' appears to be on far more solid footing than it did on first glance. Unless audiences totally ignore it next week, it stands a strong chance of making its money back.

In fourth place, 'Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit' opened with a thoroughly mediocre $17 million, providing further proof that naming your movie after the main character is often a very poor idea. Audiences simply aren't attracted to Jack Ryan's name, they're attracted to the actor playing him. People like Chris Pine, but you don't see them going out of their way to see his movies. The silver lining here is that 'Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit' wasn't too expensive, but its chances of making its money back at the domestic market are low.

The final new release of the weekend, 'Devil's Due,' opened in seventh place with $8 million, making it the second January horror release this year to disappoint at the box office. The film was made for pennies (and is already well on the way to making a profit), but this could be evidence that audiences are finally tiring of found footage horror movies. 'Paranormal Activity 5' should be either the resurgence or final nail in the coffin for this genre.

The rest of the top 10 fell into a pretty expected line. 'Lone Survivor' performed well in its second weekend, bringing its total to $73 million. 'Frozen' continued to prove itself unstoppable and is currently sitting pretty with $332 million. 'American Hustle' ($116 million), 'The Wolf of Wall Street' ($90 million) and 'August: Osage County' ($18 million) all got nice little Oscar nomination boosts. And 'Saving Mr. Banks' kept doing okay despite getting snubbed by the awards.

Meanwhile, outside of the top 10, 'Gravity,' '12 Years a Slave,' 'Her,' 'Nebraska,' 'Dallas Buyers Club' and 'Captain Phillips' all enjoyed nice little post-awards bumps. Who said the Oscars were worthless?

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