'Ride Along' steers to top of N. American box office

LOS ANGELES - Police comedy "Ride Along" made its debut at the top of the North American box office, arresting viewers' attention over the US holiday weekend, industry estimates showed Sunday.

The film, starring funnyman Kevin Hart and Ice Cube, raked in US$41.2 million (S$52.6 million) over the normal Friday-to-Sunday weekend, pushing last week's favourite, "Lone Survivor," into second place, according to box office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

Over the four-day Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend that includes Monday, the cop duo pulled in US$47.7 million compared to US$27.6 by the Afghan war drama.

"Lone Survivor," starring Mark Wahlberg, is based on a book by the only Navy SEAL commando to survive a raid targeting an Islamist fighter, one of the war's deadliest incidents.

In a weekend of multiple movie debuts, "The Nut Job," an animated tale about a squirrel forced from his park and into the big city, took in US$27.2 million over four days, scoring third place in the box office.

And "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" debuted in fourth with $20.0 million. The action adventure, starring Chris Pine, is a prequel and fifth film in the series based on author Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan books.

The franchise began with 1990's "The Hunt for Red October," and has starred Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck in the leading role over the years.

Falling to fifth place was Disney animated musical "Frozen," a loosely based retelling of a Hans Christian Andersen fairytale. It added another US$16.4 million in earnings, bringing its nine-week North American total to US$337 million.

Critically acclaimed comedy "American Hustle," fresh off its top-prize win at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards Saturday, earned US$12.7 million, sliding one spot to sixth place.

The film - starring Christian Bale and Amy Adams as grifters who team up with an FBI agent played by Bradley Cooper - scored 10 Oscars nominations Thursday and took best musical/comedy film at the Golden Globes a week ago.

Debuting in seventh was pregnancy horror flick "Devil's Due," which earned US$9.5 million in its first weekend.

Meanwhile eighth place went to "August: Osage County," about a family that is convened amid crisis and the dysfunctional matriarch, played by Meryl Streep, who unites them. The film, also starring Julia Roberts, brought in US$9.0 million.

Falling from fourth to ninth with US$8.9 million in earnings was Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street," based on the rise and fall of disgraced financier Jordan Belfort, played by Leonardo DiCaprio.

And rounding out the top 10 with nearly US$5.1 million was "Saving Mr. Banks," a drama about Walt Disney's quest to make a film adaptation of Mary Poppins.