Disney, Comcast, Viacom all vie for box office supremecy

Ride Along & Frozen just went 1-2 at the weekend box office, Image sources: Comcast, Disney

The Super Bowl may have slowed things down at this weekend's box office, but that sure doesn't mean theaters were quiet.

As Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) Universal's Ride Along hauled in another $12.3 million for its third consecutive win, a new sing-along version of The Walt Disney Company's (NYSE:DIS) Frozen drove the animated hit to second place with $9.3 million in its own tenth weekend.

For some perspective, while Ride Along's haul represented a better-than-expected 42.2% drop over last weekend, Disney actually increased Frozen's ticket sales by 2.1% over the same period, marking the fourth-largest tenth-weekend gross in history behind only Titanic, Avatar, and Slumdog Millionaire.

All told, Frozen has garnered an incredible $864.4 million globally since its record-breaking Thanksgiving debut, including $360 million from U.S. audiences alone -- not too shabby even with its enormous $150 million production budget.

And even though Ride Along has already grossed more than $94 million so far -- or almost quadruple its comparatively tiny $25 million budget -- it isn't Comcast's only hit. Comcast's $40 million holdover in Lone Survivor also tacked on another $7.2 million for fifth place this weekend, pushing its own U.S.-only total to $104.9 million after just four weeks in wide release.

Finally, the newcomers

Meanwhile, Focus Features' box office newbie in That Awkward Moment earned a lower-than-expected $9 million, bucking what little hype surrounded it to almost entirely rely on the budding star power of Zac Efron and Michael B. Jordan. However, keep in mind That Awkward Moment only required a minuscule $8 million production budget, which all but ensures the low-risk film will ultimately prove a financial success.

Next, Open Road Films' first animated effort in The Nut Job continued to hold up reasonably well, falling around 40% to $7.3 million to crack the $50 million mark. However, remember The Nut Job cost roughly $42 million to produce, which means it likely still has a ways to go to cover Open Road's outlay after accounting for P&A budgets and cinemas' takes. Remember, many of Disney's comparable movies, for example, need to gross at least twice their production budgets to achieve profitability.

Finally, Viacom (NASDAQ: VIA) Paramount secured sixth and seven place with $5.4 million and $5.3 million, respectively, from Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and director Jason Reitman's newcomer Labor Day. 

While those numbers don't bode particularly well for either film, Labor Day should prove a modest success with its $18 million price tag. Recall Reitman's $12 million project in 2011's Young Adult, for example, which scored a $3.4 million opening en route to a $22.9 million global gross. If Labor Day can maintain a similar path, it'll eventually gross right around $36 million.

And though Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit has suffered in the U.S., grossing just $39 million as young movie-goers fail to identify with the popular Tom Clancy character, international audiences are proving its savior after adding another $61.1 million to date. With plenty of time left in its theatrical run, Shadow Recruit's slow start three weekends ago is beginning to look like a non-issue.

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