Everything’s Not Awesome For New Films At Box Office

There was a bit of good news this weekend for the North America box office: business for the top ten was up a massive 85% over last week’s horrific numbers. The downside? Business continued to lag behind last year’s numbers by double digits.

One film expected to turn 2019’s sluggish business around was Warner’s The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part. Instead, it found its box office building blocks busted in its underwhelming debut. The news was a bit better for Paramount’s urban comedy What Men Want, which opened to moderate business, while Lionsgate’s Cold Pursuit and Orion’s The Prodigy both fired blanks in their openers.

Solid reviews and a massive marketing campaign weren’t enough to help The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part defeat a severe case of franchise fatigue in its start on 4,303 theaters this past Friday. The sequel to the surprise 2014 blockbuster got underway with an estimated $35 million, which was roughly 50% lower than the opening numbers for the first LEGO Movie.

On the critical front, LEGO 2 scored a solid 84% approval on Rotten Tomatoes and a 65/100 on Metacritic, grades that weren’t too far off from the 2014 film. Ticket buyers polled by CinemaScore also enjoyed the latest animated adventure of the talking blocks. They gave the Mike Mitchell-directed feature an “A-.”

While that feedback from the press and public may help sustain The Second Part over the next few weeks, it certainly isn’t going to help the film reach the level of business enjoyed by the 2014 original or 2017’s The LEGO Batman Movie. Why is that? Simple: too much product in too short of a timespan. The Second Part is the fourth theatrical release from the LEGO film franchise in five years, a time period that also included a deluge of LEGO-brand television series, short films and videogames. That over-saturation of product has helped turned something that was once unique into something that now seems routine, and that translates into diminished box office. While The LEGO Movie 2 will eventually turn a profit for Warner Brothers once it hits home video, its chilly box office reception should make the studio reconsider how it handles the franchise from now on.

Internationally, The LEGO Movie 2 assembled $18 million worth of business this weekend.

Landing in second place with an estimated $19 million from 2,912 screens was Paramount’s R-rated comedy What Men Want. The gender-reversed reboot of the atrocious Mel Gibson “comedy” What Women Want was largely dismissed by critics -48% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 51/100 on Metacritic-, but fans of Empire star Taraji P. Henson turned up in sizeable numbers. They also gave the film an “A-“ on CinemaScore. While it’s highly unlikely that Men will match the $182 million box office earned by Women 18 years ago, it should still provide a tidy profit for Paramount thanks to its moderate budget of $20 million.

Thawing out with a lukewarm $10.8 million in third place from 2,630 theaters was the latest Liam Neeson action flick, Cold Pursuit. The Lionsgate release scored decent notices from the critics – 74% approval on Rotten Tomatoes and a 58/100 on Metacritic- but failed to get ticket buyers excited for the latest Neeson shoot ‘em up. A comment or two the actor made in an interview recently may have kept a few additional people away as well.

Hanging tough in fourth place was STX’s The Upside with $7.2 million from 3,372 theaters. Down a mere 17% in its fifth weekend, The Upside has pocketed $85.8 million so far.

In fifth place was Universal’s Glass with an estimated $6.4 million from 3,254 venues. After one month, the $20 million production has scored a healthy $98.4 million. It will cross the $100 million milestone by midweek. Overseas, Glass has shattered $123 million to date.

  1. The Prodigy (Orion) $6 million (NEW)
  2. Green Book (Universal) $3.6 million (-18%); $61.5 million
  3. Aquaman (Warner) $3.3 million (-32%); $328.5 million
  4. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (Sony) $3 million (-33%) $180 million
  5. Miss Bala (Sony) $2.7 million (-60%) $11.8 million

This upcoming week sees the arrival of Fox’s long-delayed Alita: Battle Angel –which scored $32 million overseas this weekend-, the horror sequel Happy Death Day 2U and Isn’t It Romantic.

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