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.

Oscar Watch – The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

The Lego franchise has made nearly half a billion dollars at the domestic box office for Warner Bros since 2014 and The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part will add to those coffers next weekend. It’s money hauls, however, have not translated to success with Oscar voters.

The Lego Movie was critically acclaimed and seemed assured an Academy nod in Animated Feature four years ago. It was one of the most surprising snubs when it didn’t make the cut. There were two Lego pics in 2017 (The Lego Batman Movie, The Lego Ninjago Movie). Neither of them managed to make the race that year.

While reviews for The Second Part are strong, several critics have said it doesn’t quite match the first part. Competition from animated sequels alone in 2019 (How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Frozen 2, Toy Story 4) is serious. Therefore it appears highly unlikely that this will be the year where Lego builds any standing with the awards crowd.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

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:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/01/30/what-men-want-box-office-prediction/

For my Cold Pursuit prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/01/30/cold-pursuit-box-office-prediction/

For my The Prodigy prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/01/31/the-prodigy-box-office-prediction/

Roma Takes New York

One of the oldest critics group weighed in on the best of the year this morning as the New York Film Critics Circle bestowed their honors. And the writers of the Big Apple clearly took to Roma, which was victorious for Best Picture, Director (Alfonso Cuaron), and Cinematography.

There’s little doubt the Mexican drama will get a nomination at the Oscars. However, the NYFCC top prize certainly doesn’t ensure a win at the big race. Far from it. You have to go back to 2011 since the Oscar and NYFCC recipients matched – The Artist. 

Roma has held the #2 spot in my estimated nominees for weeks behind A Star Is Born. For now, I don’t see that changing.

For Best Actor, Ethan Hawke won for First Reformed and I don’t expect that will be the last of his critics group trophies. Hawke has established himself as a real threat to make the final 5 for the Academy. Additionally, the Screenplay award went to Reformed, furthering boosting the prospect of Paul Schrader getting his first Oscar nod in Original Screenplay.

The NYFCC is known for throwing a surprise in the acting categories (think Tiffany Haddish for Girls Trip) and this year was no different. Best Actress went to Regina Hall for the acclaimed indie dramedy Support the Girls. While the exposure here only helps, the Actress race is very crowded and Hall’s inclusion seems quite unlikely at the moment.

Richard E. Grant took Supporting Actor for Can You Ever Forgive Me? in what is shaping up to be a genuine three-person race between him, Mahershala Ali (Green Book), and Sam Elliot (A Star Is Born). Regina King got Supporting Actress for If Beale Street Could Talk as she appears to be the soft front-runner, with Amy Adams (Vice) and the women of The Favourite (Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz) lurking.

In down-the-line categories, Animated Feature went to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (which may just establish itself as a threat to Incredibles 2). Minding the Gap got the Non-Fiction race and Cold War took Best Foreign Language Film.

Other groups will be weighing in soon and I’ll have all the coverage right here!

Nobody’s Fool Box Office Prediction

It’s not a remake of the Paul Newman/Bruce Willis dramedy from almost a quarter century ago, but Nobody’s Fool is in theaters next weekend with some other familiar names. The comedy casts Tiffany Haddish as a recently released prisoner with some unique dating issues. Tika Sumpter, Omari Hardwick, and Whoopi Goldberg costar.

Haddish, of course, broke out on the big screen in a major way last year with her acclaimed supporting role in Girls Trip. Just last month, she had another solid earner alongside Kevin Hart in Night School. This will be the biggest test so far of her newfound star power. It doesn’t hurt that her director is another name audiences know well – Tyler Perry.

In recent years, Perry’s non-Madea features often still manage opening weekends in the mid teens to low 20s. His spring thriller Acrimony took in $17.1 million for its start. His low mark came in 2014 with The Single Moms Club with just $8 million.

My feeling is that Haddish’s involvement should cause this to hit low to mid teens. I do wonder if its numbers could dwindle a bit since many moviegoers just saw her in Night School. For that reason, I’ll go on the lower scale of that range.

Nobody’s Fool opening weekend prediction: $14.5 million

For my Bohemian Rhapsody prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/10/23/bohemian-rhapsody-box-office-prediction/

For my The Nutcracker and the Four Realms prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/10/24/the-nutcracker-and-the-four-realms-box-office-prediction/

Night School Box Office Prediction

**Blogger’s Update (09/27/18): My estimate has risen to $27.6 million to $31.6 million

One of the most dependable comedic actors at the box office teams with one of the hottest newer names when Night School opens next weekend. Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish headline the pic about a group trying to pass their GED exam. Malcolm D. Lee (who just directed Haddish in her breakout Girls Trip) is behind the camera. The supporting cast includes Rob Riggle, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Taran Killam, Romany Malco, and Keith David.

Hart has been a model of consistency in recent years when it comes to high earners. In addition to just coming off the massive blockbuster Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle, he’s had a handful of $30 million plus openers including Think Like a Man, both Ride Along features, Get Hard, and Central Intelligence. The Think Like a Man sequel almost reached $30 million while About Last Night made $25.6 million for its start. The low-end of the spectrum is The Wedding Ringer with $20.6 million. As for Lee and Haddish’s Trip, it took in $31.2 million.

The collaboration of these talents should yield pleasing results and the likely #1 spot over its made competitor – the animated Smallfoot. I’m a little skeptical this reaches $30 million, though it certainly could. A gross in the mid to high 20s seems more probable.

Night School opening weekend prediction: $31.6 million

For my Smallfoot prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/18/smallfoot-box-office-prediction/

For my Hell Fest prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/20/hell-fest-box-office-prediction/

Oscar Watch: Support the Girls

Opening this weekend in limited release is Support the Girls, a working class comedy from indie director Andrew Bujalski. It premiered at the South by Southwest festival earlier this spring and reaction was quite positive. More reviews are now rolling out and with over a dozen in, it stands at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Particular raves have gone to Regina Hall, who plays the caring manager of a low rent Hooters type sports bar. Nearly every reaction I’ve seen lauds her work and singles her out. Other costars include Haley Lu Richardson, James Le Gros, and AJ Michalka.

Support may be deemed too small to gather any Oscar buzz and a nomination for Hall is an extreme long shot. However, don’t be surprised if several critics point her out as someone whom Academy voters should pay attention to. That would put her in similar company to recent comedic turns that were ignored like Emma Stone in Easy A, Hailee Steinfeld in The Edge of Seventeen, and Hall’s Girls Trip costar Tiffany Haddish.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…