Weekend Estimates: LEGO Builds Instant Franchise

Lego poster

2014 is shaping up to be a good year at the box office. After excellent openings for Ride Along and Lone Survivor in January, February is getting off to a spectacular start thanks to a huge opening weekend for The LEGO Movie. Warner Bros. is projecting an opening of $69.1 million for the toy spin-off -- far and away the biggest weekend of the year so far, and the second-best February weekend ever, behind only The Passion of the Christ. Numbers like that guarantee a sequel or three, and boost a franchise that has already built an impressive following in the video market.

The Monuments Men is looking at solid numbers this weekend, with a projected $22.7 million. Reviews are disappointing, given the pedigree of the talent involved, and that's clearly had a negative effect at the box office. The film still has a shot at earning back its production budget though, so it's unlikely to prove a financial disaster.

This week's real disaster is Vampire Academy, which is set to open with around $4.1 million from 2,676 theaters. That's not enough to cover marketing costs, let alone paying the cost of making the film. It will quietly disappear from theaters over the next couple of weeks, but it might have a bit of life on the home market.

Among returning films, filmgoers attentions are clearly turning towards the Oscars, with Gravity and Philomena both down less than 20% from last weekend. If box office is any indication, 12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club, Nebraska and Her are all falling out of contention, with all four films down 38% to 54% this weekend.

The standout limited release this weekend is Kids for Cash, which is expected to bring in a shade over $40,000 from four theaters. SenArt Films used the unusual strategy of releasing the film outside of New York/Los Angeles, and instead opened the film in Pennsylvania, where the events covered in the documentary took place. Clearly the decision paid off, and the film will be expanding over the next few weeks.

- Weekend Estimates

Bruce Nash bruce.nash@the-numbers.com


Date posted: 2014-02-09