Box Office: 'LEGO Movie 2' Crashes With Mere $8.5M Friday – Forbes
‘LEGO Movie 2’Warner Bros.
Everything’s not awesome for The LEGO Movie 2. Warner Bros.’ sequel to their 2014 blow-out hit The LEGO Movie opened yesterday with just $8.5 million. Counting the sneak previews from a few weeks ago, that’s essentially a $9.1m “opening day.” That is down a whopping 46% from the $17m opening day of The LEGO Movie five years ago this weekend and 37% below the $14.4m opening day of The LEGO Batman Movie two years ago.
Unless it rallies like crazy over the next two days, it’ll end up somewhere between $32 million and $35m for the weekend. For the record, The LEGO Movie pulled a 4x multiplier back in 2014, while The LEGO Batman Movie and The LEGO Ninjago Movie ($20m in September of 2017) both earned over/under 3.6x weekend multipliers. But for a film that was projected to open between $45m and $55m over the weekend, a likely $30m-$35m launch is not remotely awesome.
For the record, The LEGO Movie 2 is quite good, arguably about as good as the first film. So, with an A- from Cinemascore, it could very well have legs long enough to make up the opening weekend deficit. If it plays like a LEGO movie, then we’re looking at a domestic total of between $91.5m (if it opens with $32m and only legs it like Ninjago) and $131m domestic (if it opens with $35m and legs it like the first LEGO movie). None of those are grand scenarios, although we’re talking about a $99m animated feature with plenty of post-theatrical potential.
To be fair, plenty of sequels earn less in North America and more overseas, and that’s always possible here. The LEGO Movie earned $211 million overseas versus a $257m domestic cume, so there is room for improvement. That being said, none of the LEGO movies have brought down the house overseas. The LEGO Batman Movie earned $136m against a $175m domestic cume, and LEGO Ninjago earned $64m foreign against a $59m domestic sum.
The reviews were solid across the board, but this was either a case of too much, too late or lightning-in-a-bottle. While The LEGO Movie was a kind of event five years ago, buoyed by rave reviews and nostalgic media coverage, we’ve had two LEGO spin-offs since then. With around 5,912 direct-to-VOD/DVD LEGO movies available at the touch of a button from the comfort of home, The LEGO Movie 2 failed to (comparatively) stand out from its at-home competition.
Now that LEGO movies, even theatrical LEGO movies, are no longer once-in-a-lifetime (or even once every few years) cultural events, the appeal of The LEGO Movie 2 was explicitly rooted in whether or not audiences wanted more adventures featuring Chris Pratt’s Emmett and Elizabeth Banks’ Lucy. Judging by this opening day, the answer is a measured “Eh, once was enough.” While the first LEGO movie scored as a four-quadrant blockbuster, The Second Piece played as a kids toon.
Moreover, five years is a long time to wait for a straight-up/conventional sequel. Even in a less hyperspeed media age, two-to-three years is the norm, with four years in some cases depending on the project. The Dark Knight Rises did just fine with four years between it and The Dark Knight, but Star Trek Into Darkness earned somewhat less ($229 million versus $256m) in North America with a four-year gap. And, to the extent anyone ever wanted a Pacific Rim sequel, five years was way too long of a wait for Uprising.
We’ll see, with the important “fewer people go to the movies just to go to the movies than they did in 2014” variable, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World and Godzilla: King of the Monsters can weather the five-year-gap. The hope for those projects is that LEGO Movie was merely a one-shot-deal. Like The Smurfs or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the blow-out success was fueled by curiosity and IP fondness rather than a keen desire for a new franchise. It would appear, admittedly only one day out, that The LEGO Movie is another “once was enough” franchise for general moviegoers.
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