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411 Box Office Report: The Lego Movie 2 Falls Way Short But Still Tops Box Office

February 10, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

There wasn’t much gas in The Lego Movie 2’s tank, but it was at least enough to get it to the top of the box office this weekend. The animated sequel to the 2014 blockbuster hit scored the #1 spot with $34.4 million. That’s way, way under the $50 million to $55 million that most were predicting the film would do. It’s a panic-worthy sign for Warner Bros., who no doubt hoped for some great numbers here to start off the year but instead had to settle for a start that was only moderately ahead of Lego Ninjago’s $20.4 million opening in September 2017. The opening is well below the $69.1 million start of the first Lego Movie and the $53 million opening of Lego Batman in February of 2017.

So what happened here? Was the film a victim of a crowded marketplace for new releases, the waning reception of the Lego film franchise, poor marketing, or what? All of those are probably contributing factors. After a largely empty weekend last frame due to the Super Bowl, studios pushed their pre-Valentine’s Day entries into theaters this weekend. The bloom is off the rose a bit for LEGO due to the Ninjago movie being a commerical and critical underperformer, and it’s worth noting that the sudden glut of LEGO movies gave a bit of franchise fatigue. Mostly though, the marketing didn’t strike a whole lot of people’s imaginations. It almost felt like Warner Bros. was saying “Hey, you loved the first one and you’re going to see this one, so we won’t try too hard.” People looked past the film as a result, toward some more exciting releases in the weeks to come.

It’s not in great news overseas, either. The first Lego Movie made $211.4 million internationally and $18.7 million in its first overseas weekend out of twenty-six territories. Opening in sixty-three territories, the sequel is off to a lousy $18.1 million star for a $52.5 million total worldwide opening. Those aren’t good numbers for a movie that cost $99 million. On the plus side, the reviews are good (84% on Rotten Tomatoes) and audience reaction is a good A- which will help box office. In the US, it’ll make it past $100 million, but overseas grosses will have to pick up significantly for this to make any profit.

Performing better against expectations was the Taraji P. Henson comedy What Men Want, which opened at #2 with $19 million. That’s still slightly low compared to the $20 million expected start, but is a solid number for the remake of Mel Gibson’s What Women Want. It’s also a rebound for Henson following last January’s muted opening of Proud Mary at $9.9 million. (She opened Acrimony to $17.2 million in March, but that was due to the Tyler Perry effect.)

Gender-switched film remakes have been controversial, and have had mixed success. Ghostbusters was the highest-profile and fell flat in 2016. But What Men Want seems to be following more of the Ocean’s 8 path toward success. While critics didn’t love it (47% on RT), that’s not an abysmal number for a comedy and the A CinemaScore means good things going forward. Henson is a star that has needed a film like this to help boost her cinematic profile a bit after some lackluster performances, making this a win for all involved. The film should be able to nail down around $70 million by the end of its domestic run and that should be enough for success against a $20 million budget.

Liam Neeson’s interview controversy didn’t hurt the performance of his latest action-thriller, as Cold Pursuit got off to an admittedly so-so $10.8 million start. The film is the lowest of Neeson’s action career, but performed as it was expected to do before the backlash and is right around his last two similar films in last year’s The Commuter ($13.7 million) and 2015’s Run All Night ($11 million). It’s not the worst start for the film, though it will need to perform internationallyh to hit the black on a $60 million budget.

Cold Pursuit will probably be helped by the fact that at a 74% Rotten Tomatoes average, it’s the best-reviewed Neeson-starring action film since 2012’s The Grey. But these films aren’t made for American audiences anyway. This one is a remake of the 2014 vigilante film In Order of Disappearance, and like most of the star’s mid-budget revenge films will be seeking overseas numbers. (Commuter earned 70% of its revenue overseas and Run All Night did 63% of its business internationally). Here in the states it should end its run at around $25 million.

The Upside continues to hold on well, down just 17% in its fourth weekend with $7.2 million. The Kevin Hart/Bryan Cranston dramedy is now at $85.8 million domestically and $94.7 million worldwide on a budget of $37.5 million, making it a profitable venture. It is likely to end its domestic run at around $100 million, which would make it a good box office performance for Hart.

Glass eased 33% in its fourth weekend for a $6.4 million take. The M. Night Shyamalan-directed superhero thriller has a total of $98.5 million domestically and $221.5 million worldwide on a $20 million budget, making it quite the hit for Universal. It’s domestic total should end up at around $110 million or so.

Orion Pictures’ The Prodigy opened quietly as expected with $6 million. The Taylor Schilling-starring horror film is following the BH Tilt model of cheap budgets to maximize profits, and that trend looks to hold true here. The film was never expected to be a hit, and its 45% RT consensus didn’t dissuade that notion, but it’s also not a bad score for a horror film. The movie has little competition coming up and should be able to make it to around $20 million. That will make it a very minor hit on a $6 million budget.

Green Book was down 18% in its thirteenth weekend with a $3.6 million take. The Oscar contender has a total of $61.5 million domestically and $106.1 million worldwide, making it a nicely profitable film for Universal against its $23 million budget. The film should finish up with around $75 million domestically.

Aquaman is still swimming with $3.3 million in its eighth weekend, down 32%. The DC film now has $328.5 million domestically and $1.120 billion worldwide. Obviously it is a huge hit and will finish stateside with around $335 million. The budget was $160 million.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was down 33% in its ninth weekend, bringing in $3 million. The Marvel/Sony animated film is up to $179.8 million domestically and $352.6 million worldwide against a $90 million budget, giving it a solid profit margin. The final domestic take looks to be around $190 million.

Gina Rodriguez’s Miss Bala crashed in its second weekend, down 60% to $2.7 million. That’s not the newqs Sony was hoping for, but like Cold Pursuit this one is waiting on its overseas numbers. Those haven’t started rolling in yet; at this point the remake has $11.9 million domestically and barely more than that worldwide. It should finish in the US with around $20 million from a $15 million budget.0

Next weekend is busy and should be topped by Happy Death Day 2U, which is targeting a $20 million opening. Robert Rodriguez’s Alita: Battle Angel should be in the high teens range, ahead of the mid-teens numbers of Isn’t It Romantic.

BOX OFFICE TOP TEN (Three-Day Domestic Numbers)
1. The Lego Movie 2 – $34.4 million ($34.4 million total)
2. What Men Want – $19 million ($19 million total)
3. Cold Pursuit – $10.8 million ($10.8 million total)
4. The Upside – $7.2 million ($85.8 million total)
5. Glass – $6.4 million ($98.5 million total)
6. The Prodigy – $6 million ($6 million total)
7. Green Book – $3.6 million ($61.5 million total)
8. Aquaman – $3.3 million ($328.5 million total)
9. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – $3 million ($179.8 million total)
10. Miss Bala – $2.7 million ($11.9 million total)