Ice Cube Film Leads Weekend Box Office

Sony's "Are We There Yet?" managed to arrive at its destination in the top spot at the box office this weekend, despite severe winter weather in the upper Midwest and Northeast regions of the country

Sony's "Are We There Yet?" managed to arrive at its destination in the top spot at the box office this weekend, despite severe winter weather in the upper Midwest and Northeast regions of the country as well as competition from the NFL playoffs. The PG-rated family comedy from Revolution Studios, starring Ice Cube, caught some in the industry by surprise with an easy win and a better-than-expected debut of an estimated $18.5 million.

Because the previous weekend represented the first three days of a four-day holiday session, the weekend-to-weekend percentage drops on holdovers tend to be a bit steeper than normal. In addition, the snowstorms and blizzards also had an impact on grosses, with Saturday evening being hit the hardest. Some observers noted that revenues were down by as much as 20% in those areas because of the weather.

As "Are We There Yet?" drove into the top spot, executives at Sony were understandably upbeat. "It's at the high end of expectations, despite the weather; $18.5 million is a terrific number, and we're very pleased," Sony Pictures Releasing Rory Bruer said.

Bruer noted that the majority of the audience was families, with 34% falling into the nonfamily portion, but he said it played well to all audiences. In the ethnic breakdown, 43% were white, 26% African-American and 18% Hispanic. "We had tremendous success with our word-of-mouth screenings, and Ice Cube worked really hard on the film," Bruer said. "Audiences really embraced him in this picture."

"Ice Cube is very popular among teens, so I think we got the teens as well as the family audience," Revolution Studios partner Tom Sherak added. The Revolution-produced "XXX: State of the Union," coming out in April, stars Ice Cube and Samuel L. Jackson, who stars in "Coach Carter," the previous weekend's No. 1 film.