Weekend Predictions: Can LEGO Build an Audience

Lego poster

The first weekend of February should be the biggest with The LEGO Movie looking to dominate the box office, while The Monuments Men is expected to do respectable business over the weekend. The other wide release is Vampire Academy, which wasn't screened for critics. It is not aimed at a target demographic that cares about what critics think, but they still didn't screen the film for critics. This weekend last year, there were two wide releases, Identity Thief and Side Effects. The two films earned a combined $44 million during their opening weekend. The LEGO Movie will make more than that on its own. 2014 should easily win in the year-over-year competition.

When I first heard about The LEGO Movie, I was unsure how to react. It is a movie based on a toy, and generally those don't wow critics. The first trailer I saw was surprisingly good. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it was better than I thought it would be. It turns out, the movie itself is even better. At the moment, there is only one negative review compared to 81 positive reviews. Additionally, the film's box office potential has grown over the past week. Nearly everyone believes it will earn first place, while the predictions for its opening weekend has grown from the mid $40 million range to north of $50 million. Some even think it will come close to $60 million. I'm not that bullish, but I am a little above average with an opening weekend box office of $53 million.

The Monuments Men was originally scheduled for an Awards Season opening, but was moved, for reasons that are obvious when you look at its reviews. The film is currently earning 30% positive reviews, which is bad for a mindless popcorn film. It would have faded into nothing during Awards Season. On the other hand, the film's box office chances still look pretty good this weekend, as the film has a 50/50 shot at reaching $20 million. I think it will just miss the mark with $19 million.

Vampire Academy will likely earn third place, mainly by default. As I said above, there are still no reviews so the studio has little faith in the film's chances to win over critics. Unfortunately, it also seems the studio has little faith in the film's chances to win over moviegoers. Best case scenario has the film earning third place with just over $10 million. Worst case has the film bringing in less than $5 million, which might not be enough for the top five. I'm going with $8 million, which won't be enough to be considered a hit.

Ride Along has just over $95 million and it will crack the century mark this weekend with just over $6 million. It isn't on a record-pace for a January release, but it is close.

Fifth place should go to Frozen with just under $6 million. This will leave it roughly $1 million behind Despicable Me 2 for biggest animated film released in 2013.

If Vampire Academy does bomb, Lone Survivor will grab fifth place with $5 million or so.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-02-06