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Kevin Hart’s ‘Ride Along’ Dominates Box Office, Breaks January Release Record

The new buddy cop comedy “Ride Along” dominated the box office over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, earning over $41 million and snatching the biggest January-release record away from “Cloverfield.”

Comedian Kevin Hart and rapper Ice Cube teamed up to bring hilarious chemistry to the big screen, and it’s obviously paying off.

Despite a relatively low movie budget of $25 million, “Ride Along” is bringing in big bucks and breaking records.

The Universal film’s huge score of $41.2 million during opening weekend means “Ride Along” has finally dethroned the 2008 mega-movie “Cloverfield” of the title of the biggest January film release.

“It certainly appears with business at this level and with a CinemaScore of A and our exit polls supporting that, it’s safe to say we’ll break a few records,” said Nikki Rocco, head of distribution for Universal.

The popularity of a story about a lovable, yet foolish cop has been proven time and time again, so it’s no surprise it worked again. But the plot may not be the actual cause for the film’s success.

Senior media analyst for the box-office tracker Rentrak, Paul Dergarabedian, said Hart may be the real reason the film has pulled in such impressive numbers.

“He’s everywhere it seems,” Dergarabedian said. “I know he was co-starring with Ice Cube in ‘Ride Along,’ but this really was marketed as a Kevin Hart movie. There’s no question he’s a movie star now who doesn’t require any qualifications before his name.”

In addition to breaking records at the box office, “Ride Along” is also continuing the recent overwhelming success of African-American films.

“Best Man Holiday,” “The Butler,” and “12 Years a Slave” were also huge hits in the box office and with critics, as “12 Years a Slave” continues to sweep up several awards this season.

The trend continued with African-American biopics like “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” and “42,” which told the story of Jackie Robinson.

One can only hope now that successful films featuring predominantly African-American casts and filmmakers will soon become a Hollywood norm rather than a Hollywood trend.

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