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‘The Revenant’ Could Edge Out ‘Ride Along 2,’ Newcomers at Chilly Box Office

Leonardo DiCaprio’s “The Revenant” has the early edge on cop comedy “Ride Along 2” for the top spot at the U.S. box office with as much as $18 million this weekend, early estimates showed.

The holdover duo should lead the pack as Winter Storm Jonas limits moviegoing in the Northeastern United States this weekend. There are 75 theaters currently closed, mostly in Washington D.C. and Baltimore. Patronage in venues in and around New York City and Philadelphia will probably suffer as well. The storm is expected to cut moviegoing by 9%, according to late afternoon forecasts,  and have the biggest impact on Saturday.

Ride Along 2” won the MLK holiday weekend over “The Revenant” with $41 million versus $37.5 million, but that finish may be reversed this weekend. Providing a touch of irony, “The Revenant” is set during an especially brutal winter in the early 1820s.

Early estimates showed that “The Revenant” could lead with less than $16 million and “Ride Along 2” could come in under $15 million.

Disney’s seventh weekend of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” will likely finished third with estimates in the $13 million to $14 million range. A trio of newcomers — STX Entertainment’s supernatural thriller “The Boy,” Lionsgate’s raunchy comedy “Dirty Grandpa” and Sony’s sci-fi thriller “The 5th Wave” — are fighting for fourth with early predictions ranging between $10 million and $13 million along with Paramount’s second weekend of “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.”

Early forecasts — issued before it was clear that the snow storm would clobber the Northeast — had placed Universal’s “Ride Along 2” and Fox’s “The Revenant” with as much as $20 million each for the Friday-Sunday period. “The Revenant,” which received 12 Oscar nominations, blew past the $100 million mark on Wednesday.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is still a significant draw even during the midweek with $1.5 million on Wednesday, its 34th day in U.S. theaters. The space saga has totaled $863 million domestically — more than $100 million ahead of “Avatar,” the former record-holder.

“The Boy” appears to be the one new entry that’s outperforming forecasts with an opening day of as much as $6 million at 2,671 U.S. sites. The film, which has a $10 million budget and is co-financed by STX Entertainment and Lakeshore, stars Lauren Cohan (“The Walking Dead”) as an American woman who takes a job as a nanny in a remote English village, only to discover that the family’s 8-year-old is a life-sized doll that the parents care for just like a real boy.

STX opted to skip Thursday-night previews, which saw “Dirty Grandpa” take $660,000 at more than 2,000 locations and Chloe Grace Moretz’s “The 5th Wave” earn $475,000 at 2,297 locations. Neither has found much love from critics with “Dirty Grandpa” receiving a dismal 6% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and “The 5th Wave” scoring only 19%.

“Dirty Grandpa,” starring Robert DeNiro and Zac Efron as a grandfather and grandson on spring break, is performing in line with forecasts of $10 million to $12 million at 2,900-plus  locations.

“The 5th Wave,” which stars Moretz as a heroic teen battling aliens, has been pegged for a launch as high as $13 million while the studio remains more conservative with an $8 million opening.

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