‘Lego’ is tops, but doesn’t stack up
NEW YORK – “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” was easily the top ticketseller in theaters over the weekend, but the film’s $35 million opening failed to stack up to its expected haul, according to studio estimates Sunday.
The animated sequel had been forecast to draw around $50 million. Instead, it debuted with half the $69 million the 2014 original did, despite good reviews and an A-minus CinemaScore.
With about a $100 million budget, Warner Bros.’ “The Lego Movie 2” had been pegged as a dependable, starstudded franchise release sure to kickstart a moribund box office. But after record ticket sales last year, Hollywood’s 2019 has gotten off to such a bad beginning that the movie’s tagline of “Everything is not awesome” is looking more like accurate industry analysis.
“The expectations were certainly much higher for ‘The Lego Movie 2’ considering the success of the first installment,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore. “We were all hoping that this would be the weekend that got the momentum of the box office going in the right direction. We’re still waiting.”
Every weekend this year has been down from the same weekend a year ago. That’s a streak sure to continue. Next weekend, new releases include “Happy Death Day 2U” and “Alita: Battle Angel.”
Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Will Ferrell and others reprise their voice roles in “The Lego Movie 2,” while Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph join the cast. Mike Mitchell directs the movie written by original writer-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
Oversaturation could be to blame. Since the 2014 original, which grossed $469 million worldwide, Warner Bros. released two spinoffs: “The Lego Batman Movie” in 2017 and “The Lego Ninjago Movie” later the same year.
Distribution executives for Warner Bros. declined to comment.
Until now, 2019’s sluggish box office was partly blamed on lack of quality releases, with only a handful of highly promoted films from major studios. This weekend saw a relatively robust slate of releases, including Taraji P. Henson’s “What Men Want” and the Liam Neeson thriller “Cold Pursuit.” Both did solid if not spectacular business.
Paramount’s “What Men Want,” a loose remake of the 2000 Mel Gibson comedy, debuted with $19 million. The film got poor reviews (47 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), but audiences gave it an A-minus CinemaScore.
Lionsgate’s “Cold Pursuit” debuted with $10.8 million, a result in line with expectations despite the controversy that surrounded its star.
Orion Pictures’ “The Prodigy” debuted with $6 million.
Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
Lego Superman and Wonder Woman have their moment in “The Lego Movie 2.”