The Lego Movie Collapse

This was a weekend where The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part was expected to easily nab the #1 spot at the box office. That mission was accomplished, but it did so with much less money than any prognosticator figured. The sequel to the 2014 original took in $34 million and that was about $20 million less than expected. I had a feeling it would under perform and forecasted a $48 million debut. However, I never figured a mid 30s premiere.

For some context, the first Lego experience five years ago made $69 million out of the gate and eventually earned $257 million domestically. In 2017, first franchise spin-off The Lego Batman Movie debuted to $53 million ($175 million total). The first sign of trouble came a few months later when The Lego Ninjago Movie came in far under estimates with $20 million in its opening weekend and a lowly $59 million stateside. Yet some attributed the poor Ninjago performance to its limited niche audience.

The Second Part marked a hopeful return to form for Warner Bros considering it was a direct sequel to a picture that made over $250 million. There is no doubt that the number produced this weekend could block future plans for the series. Its best hope ahead could be the President’s Day weekend as the studio hopes it will have a small decline. Any way you cut it, though, part two will seriously come in under its predecessor. We now have two Lego Movie collapses in a row and it will be interesting to see how Warner handles it.

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part Box Office Prediction

The Warner Animation Group hopes to build back up its near half billion dollar domestic franchise next weekend with the release of The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part. This direct sequel arrives five years after its hit predecessor, though there’s been two spin-offs in the meantime. Mike Mitchell, who made Shrek Forever After and Trolls, takes over directing duties from Christopher Miller and Phil Lord (they wrote the screenplay). Returning voices include Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett (he’s Batman), Charlie Day, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, and Will Ferrell. Familiar faces joining the voiceover party are aplenty. They include Tiffany Haddish, Maya Rudolph, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Brooklyn Prince, and thespians from the DC Cinematic Universe (Gal Gadot, Margot Robbie, Jason Momoa).

In February of 2014, The Lego Movie earned $69 million out of the gate with an eventual stateside take of $257 million. Our first spin-off, 2017’s The Lego Batman Movie, achieved $53 million for its start and $175 million total. A few months later, The Lego Ninjago Movie was a legitimate disappointment. It premiered with only $20 million and didn’t leg out well ($59 million).

As they were with the first part, reviews are positive as this stands at 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. Several critics, however, have noted it doesn’t quite match up to the original. While this should easily debut at #1, I’ll project that it falls short of the 2014 earnings. Topping $50 million is certainly possible, but I’ll go just shy of that number.

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part opening weekend prediction: $48.6 million

For my What Men Want prediction, click here:

For my Cold Pursuit prediction, click here:

For my The Prodigy prediction, click here:

The Lego Ninjago Movie Box Office Prediction

The second spin-off from 2014’s blockbuster (get it?) The Lego Movie, next weekend we have The Lego Ninjago Movie. It’s based on the popular toy line with a martial arts flavor. The animated action/comedy features the voices of Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Pena, Fred Armisen, Olivia Munn, and Jackie Chan.

Ninjago will attempt to retain a good portion of the family audience and Lego lovers that populated The Lego Movie. That feature opened to $69 million in February 2014 with an eventual $257M domestic haul. First spin-off The Lego Batman Movie couldn’t quite match those numbers. It made $53 million for its start and ended up with $175M.

My feeling is that this will continue the downward trend, but still post respectable earnings. It will also have the benefit of having nothing in the way of major family audience competition for several weeks, so holdovers could be pleasing. As for its opening, Ninjago could find itself in a fierce battle for #1 with Kingsman: The Golden Circle. It’s also worth mentioning that It will only be in weekend #3 and still posting big numbers.

The Lego version of Batman was off nearly 25% out of the gate from The Lego Movie. If you applied that here, we’re talking an approximate $40 million debut. That sounds just about right and perhaps a tad under.

The Lego Ninjago Movie opening weekend prediction: $38.6 million

For my Kingsman: The Golden Circle prediction, click here:

For my Friend Request prediction, click here:

The LEGO Movie Review

The central theme of The LEGO Movie is ultimately about allowing one’s creative impulses to be set free and not conforming to the set ways of the world. That statement could apply to the directors and writers of this picture, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. A movie based on the timeless LEGO toys might have made its studio a lot of money regardless of its quality. Yet Lord and Miller allow their creativity to run wild and what results is a highly entertaining experience that no doubt will serve as the building block (so to speak) of a new franchise.

We begin in the community of Bricksburg, where regular old construction worker Emmet (Chris Pratt) is perfectly happy with the micro-managed society that’s run with an iron fist (or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene fist, to be technically accurate) by President Business (Will Ferrell). The truth is that the dastardly President has plans to end the LEGO Universe and that Emmet may or may not be The Special or Master Builder (think Chosen One) who must save the world. Emmet’s journey partners him with Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), a hipster who would be the traditional love interest if she weren’t dating Batman… yes, Batman (voiced marvelously by Will Arnett). There’s also a wise old wizard who is naturally voiced by Morgan Freeman and a humorous “good cop/bad cop” character figure voiced by Liam Neeson. The team of resistors to President Business’s schemes journey through visually splendid other worlds such as The Old West and Middle Zealand and even come across friends from a galaxy far far away. This is in addition to a little help from the 2002 NBA All Stars, which includes Shaquille O’Neal.

In case you’re already picking it up, The LEGO Movie is jam packed with pop culture references. There’s a lot here to keep adults smiling as much as the kids. Miller and Lord also get in their digs at corporate culture – many are quite clever, some are a bit well-worn. The voice over work is filled with smart choices and Chris Pratt now has two 2014 film heroes that youngsters will idolize.

There’s a “twist” later in the proceedings that truly did surprise me and it creates a level of emotion that I didn’t expect. It isn’t quite Pixar when it reaches its heart tugging heights (think another animated franchise about toys or Up), but it works very well. Emmet’s main problem for awhile is not believing he has the capability to be exceptional in a world that prides itself in conformity. President Business and others don’t want to allow for the innovations of others. The LEGO Movie shows its audience how important it is to strive to be unique and also be part of a team and that’s a good message for all of us. And kudos to Warner Bros. for allowing its filmmakers the chance to take what could have been an assembly line cash cow and make it something… well, pretty special.

***1/2 (out of four)

Box Office Predictions: March 14-16

It’s not often that there are four pictures that have real shots at being #1 in a weekend, but we have one such weekend this time around. This list includes Need for Speed and Tyler Perry’s The Single Moms Club in their debut frames and 300: Rise of an Empire and Mr. Peabody and Sherman in their sophomore weekends.

You can find my individual prediction posts on the newcomers here:

I believe Need for Speed will appeal to enough of the Fast and Furious crowd to get it to the top while Single Moms Club will continue the trend of Perry flicks coming in slightly below expectations. Still either one could over or under perform and make it a race for number one.

Add to that the fact that Mr. Peabody and Sherman is likely to have a fairly small drop and it could be a real barnburner of a race. And there’s last weekend’s #1 300: Rise of an Empire. While I expect the sequel to fall pretty hard in weekend #2, if it doesn’t – it too could contend for the top spot. Non-Stop, in its third frame, should round out the top five.

And with that, here’s my predictions for the how it all shakes out:

1. Need for Speed

Predicted Gross: $25.3 million

2. Mr. Peabody and Sherman

Predicted Gross: $20.4 million (representing a drop of 37%)

3. 300: Rise of an Empire

Predicted Gross: $18.8 million (representing a drop of 58%)

4. Tyler Perry’s The Single Moms Club

Predicted Gross: $17.6 million

5. Non-Stop

Predicted Gross: $8.2 million (representing a drop of 48%)

Box Office Results (March 7-9)

While I did pretty well on numbers 2-5 for the weekend, I vastly underestimated the staying power of the 300 franchise with its sequel Rise of an Empire. The film took in a healthy $45 million, well above my $31.1M projection. While it was miles away from the original’s $70 million premiere, this still exceeded most prognosticator’s expectations.

The animated Mr. Peabody and Sherman opened in second with $32.2 million, just below my $33.7M estimate. This was a mid-level opening for an animated feature, but it should have solid legs in the weeks ahead.

Non-Stop took third in weekend #2 with $15.8 million – in line with $15.5M prediction while The LEGO Movie was fourth with $10.9 million, a bit below my $12.5M estimate. Rounding out the top five was Son of God, which fell hard in its second weekend to $10.3 million, under my $11.9M prediction.

As always, I’ll have final results for this coming weekend on Monday. Stay tuned!

Box Office Predictions: March 7-9

Family audiences and action fans are the target audiences this weekend as the animated Mr. Peabody & Sherman and the sequel 300: Rise of an Empire premiere in theaters. It is likely to be a very tight race between the two pics for the #1 spot. You can find my individual prediction posts on each here:

As you’ll see, I have Peabody edging out 300, but truth be told – it could easily go either way. As for holdovers, I would expect last weekend’s champ Non-Stop to lose a little less than half its audience. On the other hand, Son of God seems like the type of movie that is frontloaded with its target audience primed to see it during weekend #1. Therefore I expect a drop of over 50%. The competition from Peabody should cause the smash hit LEGO Movie to have its biggest drop yet.

And with that, my predictions for the weekend’s top five:

1. Mr. Peabody & Sherman

Predicted Gross: $33.7 million

2. 300: Rise of an Empire

Predicted Gross: $31.1 million

3. Non-Stop

Predicted Gross: $15.5 million (representing a drop of 46%)

4. The LEGO Movie

Predicted Gross: $12.5 million (representing a drop of 39%)

5. Son of God

Predicted Gross: $11.9 million (representing a drop of 53%)

Box Office Results (February 28-March 2)

The results from this past weekend represent what I believe is my best weekend of predictin’ in the history of the blog (pat on back). Liam Neeson’s Non-Stop took top honors with $28.8 million – right in line with my $28.2M estimate. At 61, Neeson is still proving himself to be one of the most bankable action stars in the world.

Son of God was runner-up with an impressive $25.6 million, just below my $26.7M prediction. In third after three weeks at #1 was The LEGO Movie with $20.8 million – on pace with my $20.5M projection. The four spot was Kevin Costner’s 3 Days to Kill in its sophomore weekend with $4.9 million, in line with my $5.1M estimate.

The only place I went wrong was not including The Monuments Men in the top five. It took the five spot with $4.9 million. I had Robocop in fifth but it was sixth my $4.5 million (on par with my $4.6M prediction).

So kudos to me for the weekend! Let’s see if my predictions for this upcoming frame are anywhere close.

I’ll have final results on the blog a week from today.

Box Office Predictions: February 21-23

The gladiator action pic Pompeii and Kevin Costner thriller 3 Days to Kill both make their debuts on Friday. Neither is likely to come close to challenging a third weekend for the The LEGO Movie at the top spot. You can find my individual prediction posts on the newbies here:

As mentioned, the animated smash hit Lego Movie should easily coast to weekend #3 at the top of the charts. President’s Day weekend leftovers About Last Night and Robocop should both lose around half their audience while Monuments Men could stay in the top five with a fall in its third weekend that is less than that of its competitors. With my prediction of 3 Days to Kill outside the top five, I’ll project 1-6 this week:

1. The LEGO Movie

Predicted Gross: $33.7 million (representing a drop of 32%)

2. About Last Night

Predicted Gross: $13.6 million (representing a drop of 47%)

3. Pompeii

Predicted Gross: $13.3 million

4. Robocop

Predicted Gross: $10.4 million (representing a drop of 52%)

5. The Monuments Men

Predicted Gross: $10.3 million (representing a drop of 34%)

6. 3 Days to Kill

Predicted Gross: $7.7 million

Box Office Results (February 14-17)

The LEGO Movie held up fantastically in its sophomore frame over the holiday weekend with $62.4 million, besting my estimate of $54.2M. I correctly called the Kevin Hart rom com About Last Night to debut second, but its $27.8 million opening fell below my generous $36.8M prediction. Still, it continues an impressive run of box office dominance in 2014 by Mr. Hart. Robocop had a so-so debut at third. Its $25 million Friday-to-Monday take was right on par with my $24.9M estimate, but its $30 million six-day haul (it opened Wednesday) fell below my projection of $36.8M. The Monuments Men was fourth with $17.9 million – holding up better than my $15.1M projection. Newcomer Endless Love was in the five spot with $14.4 million, a bit below my $16.1M estimate. Finally, Winter’s Tale with Colin Farrell was the big loser of the weekend – opening in 8th place with a weak $8 million, far below my $18.4M prediction.

That’s all for now, folks! I’ll have updates posted on the blog’s Facebook page this weekend with final results Monday.

Box Office Predictions: February 7-9

The Lego Movie should be poised to take the box office by storm next weekend and end the three week reign of Ride Along at the top spot. In fact, there are two other newbies entering the marketplace on Friday as George Clooney’s The Monuments Men and Vampire Academy both debut. You can find my detailed prediction posts on each here:

My estimates reflect a belief that Lego will open with very healthy results while The Monuments Men will have a middling premiere with a rather weak opening for Vampire Academy. The new pictures should occupy the top three slots with holdovers Ride Along and Frozen in a tight race for fourth place.

And, with that, my predictions for the upcoming weekend’s top five:

1. The Lego Movie

Predicted Gross: $54.2 million

2. The Monuments Men

Predicted Gross: $16.1 million

3. Vampire Academy

Predicted Gross: $8.4 million

4. Ride Along

Predicted Gross: $6.9 million (representing a drop of 43%)

5. Frozen

Predicted Gross: $6.6 million (representing a drop of 25%)

Box Office Results (January 31-February 2)

The Super Bowl weekend brought an expected quiet frame at multiplexes. As predicted, Ride Along held #1 for its third weekend with $12 million, just above my $11.3M estimate. Disney’s Frozen, with its new sing-along version, was second with $8.9 million – below my $10.7M projection.

The Zac Efron comedy That Awkward Moment took third with an OK $8.7 million for its debut, barely above my $8M projection. The Nut Job was fourth with $7.2 million, right in line with my $7.5M estimate. Lone Survivor took fifth with $7 million (I had it outside the top five).

Where I went wrong was giving Jason Reitman’s Labor Day too much credit. The Kate Winslet/Josh Brolin drama managed only a seventh place debut with $5.1 million, well below my $8.8M projection.

As always, I’ll have early updates posted on the blog’s Facebook page Saturday with final results Monday. And on Sunday – I’ll have projections for all four openings over Valentine’s/President’s Day weekend: Robocop, About Last Night, Endless Love, and Winter’s Tale. Until next time!

The Lego Movie Box Office Prediction

2013 was a huge year for animated pictures and now the first weekend in February brings The Lego Movie, a high-profile offering from Warner Bros. based on that line of toys that we all grew up and played with. Lego features the voices of plenty of actors we know including Will Ferrell, Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Charlie Day, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Channing Tatum, and Jonah Hill.

While The Lego Movie is unlikely to reach the heights of Despicable Me 2, Frozen, or Monsters University from last year, it’s reasonable to speculate than an opening similar to Wreck It Ralph is in the cards. That title opened to $49 million in November 2012. I believe the widespread familiarity of the pic’s subject matter and its robust marketing campaign may actually propel it a bit higher and over the $50M mark. This is the type of animated flick that parents probably won’t mind taking the kiddos to and I’m predicting stellar results.

The Lego Movie opening weekend prediction: $54.2 million

For my prediction on The Monuments Men, click here:

For my prediction on Vampire Academy, click here: