Ride Along poster*(Via The Envelope) – The cop comedy “Ride Along” drove past expectations to win at the box office and set records over the Martin Luther King Day weekend, proving again that studios shouldn’t underestimate the diverse film audience.

The Universal Pictures buddy movie, which stars comedian Kevin Hart and actor-rapper Ice Cube, grossed a studio-estimated $48.1 million in ticket sales through Monday in the U.S. and Canada, easily beating last week’s winner, “Lone Survivor,” and new entrants including “The Nut Job” and “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.”

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Not adjusting for inflation, “Ride Along” set the record for the four-day Martin Luther King Day holiday weekend, topping 2008’s monster movie “Cloverfield.” Also, “Ride Along’s” Friday-through-Sunday total of $41.6 million was the biggest January three-day opening ever.

“Ride Along,” which cost $25 million to make, generated just 12% of its revenue from white moviegoers. Its audience was 50% African American and 30% Hispanic.

Get MORE of this story at The Envelope.