Although it seemed like an over-the-top reach as an anchor for a cinematic universe, the LEGO brand pulled off a near-miracle in 2014 with The LEGO Movie, which grossed over $469 million worldwide. Had the sequel released in quick order, as opposed to slotting behind two spinoffs, today's stats might be far more awesome for The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part. The animated sequel wasn't a total box office brick, but it's obvious that this franchise is having some growing pains. Take a look at the weekend estimates.
|1.||The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part||$34,400,000||Total: $34,000,000||
|2.||What Men Want||$19,000,000||Total: $19,000,000||
|3.||Cold Pursuit||$10,800,000||Total: $10,800,000||
|4.||The Upside||$7,220,000||Total: $85,800,366||
|6.||The Prodigy||$6,004,403||Total: $6,004,403||
|7.||Green Book||$3,567,000||Total: $61,501,776||
|9.||Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse||$3,040,000||Total: $179,821,627||
|10.||Miss Bala||$2,725,000||Total: $11,865,096||
In the weeks prior to this weekend's big releases, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part inspired some decent, if not lofty, box office expectations. It was thought that the deconstructive comedy might make upwards of around $55 million when taking the top slot in the weekly results, but the actual $34.4 million earned is obviously far less than what industry insiders expected.
In fact, it's almost exactly half of the $69 million opening weekend experienced by The LEGO Movie's own first weekend intake. Dwindling returns are nothing new in Hollywood, but in the modern blockbuster era, high-profil sequels tend to do as well or better than franchise flagships.
LEGO Batman, buoyed by superhero fandoms, debuted to $53 million, while the lesser-celebrated LEGO Ninjago Movie only brought in $21.2 million in its first weekend for a third-place start. At least Mike Mitchell's direct sequel brought in more than that, though possibly not enough to warrant a quick green light for a third LEGO Movie. It will also be interesting to see if any updates arise in regards to the in-development spinoff The LEGO Brick Race.
It's not exactly clear why The LEGO Movie 2 is dropping so hard at the box office for its debut. That kind of thing tends to happen when critics and audiences are at odds with a new release, but the animated comedy has already won over most of the people that have watched it. It's got an A+ Cinemascore rating with audiences, and over on Rotten Tomatoes, it's 84% fresh with critics and 83% fresh with audiences.
The second-place finisher in this week's box office, Adam Shankman's What Men Want, found itself on the end of some much harsher criticisms. The spiritual remake of Mel Gibson's 2000 comedy What Women Want may not have won over everyone who watched it, but it can't be denied that a lot of people tried it out in theaters. What Men Want earned right at $19 million on a $20 million budget, so it could likely turn profitable before too much longer.
In third place this week is Liam Neeson's latest revenge flick, titled Cold Pursuit. The star-studded and darkly comedic action remake (of the Norwegian movie In Order of Disappearance) beat its own lowered expectations to gross over $10 million for the opening. Still, that's the lowest premiere weekend for a Liam Neeson film since 2010's The Next Three Days, and one of the worst of his career. Perhaps it might have made more if not for racially tinged comments made in the recent past.
The only other new release to crack into the Top 10 - or even the Top 30, is Nicholas McCarthy's evil kid thriller The Prodigy. With Taylor Schilling as the put-upon mother who is potentially unleashing this threat upon the world, The Prodigy managed to immediately top its budget, earning $6.004 million for a flick that cost right at $6 million. Not exactly franchise-inspiring numbers, but probably good enough for Orion.
Next weekend, we'll be watching out for the biggest releases of the week, which will be the life-rewinding horror sequel Happy Death Day 2U and Rebel Wilson's meta rom-com Isn't It Romantic? Both of those will make early Valentine's Day premieres on Wednesday, while Friday will see the release of Frank Grillo's new drama Donnybrook and more. Expect them all to get squashed by How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World on February 22, though.