Lego Superman and Wonder Woman have their moment in "The Lego Movie 2." (Photo11: WARNER BROS. PICTURES)
NEW YORK – “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” was easily the top ticket-seller 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, star-studded franchise release sure to kick-start 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, the new releases include “Happy Death Day 2U” and “Alita: Battle Angel.” What opened the same weekend last year? “Black Panther.”
“Momentum is everything at the box office,” Dergarabedian said. “And we’ve sort of lost that.”
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 on the weekend’s results.
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. Henson plays a sports agent with the ability to hear men’s thoughts in Adam Shankman’s film, a kind of gender flip from the original. 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 in the week leading up to release. Neeson drew heavy criticism after he acknowledged in an interview published last Monday that he wanted to kill a random black person when a close friend told him she had been raped by a black man.
'Liam Neeson is canceled': Fans react to actor's story of urge for racist revenge
Neeson later appeared on “Good Morning America” to say he’s not a racist. Organizers for the New York premiere of “Cold Pursuit” canceled the film’s red carpet.
Orion Pictures’ horror thriller “The Prodigy” also debuted, with $6 million.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” $35 million ($18.1 million international).
2. “What Men Want,” $19 million.
3. “Cold Pursuit,” $10.8 million.
4. “The Upside,” $7.2 million.
5. “Glass,” $6.4 million.
6. “The Prodigy,” $6 million.
7. “Green Book,” $3.6 million.
8. “Aquaman,” $3.3 million.
9. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” $3 million.
10. “Miss Bala,” $2.7 million.
Michelle Rodriguez defends Liam Neeson: 'You can’t call him a racist, ever'
Exclusive new photos from 2019's must-see movies> Fullscreen
A link has been posted to your Facebook feed.
A host of new movies arrive in 2019, from big-budget treasures to smaller delights, including a fresh adaptation of Disney's "Aladdin" featuring Naomi Scott as the beautiful and self-determined Princess Jasmine. DANIEL SMITH>Fullscreen One year after her husband's untimely death, a widow (Katherine Waterston) is spurred to find out what happened and the truth of his dark past in the thriller "State Like Sleep" (in theaters Jan. 4). SABRINA LANTOS>Fullscreen Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson, left) is fascinated by the multiple personalities of fellow supervillain inmate Kevin Crumb (James McAvoy) in M. Night Shyamalan's "Glass" (Jan. 18). JESSICA KOURKOUNIS>Fullscreen A group of teens (including Tom Taylor and Rhianna Dorris) become knights to fight an evil enchantress in a new take on Arthurian legend, "The Kid Who Would Be King" (Jan. 25). KERRY BROWN>Fullscreen A world-renowned thief (Michael Caine, right) rounds up a band of misfit criminals (including Charlie Cox) to pull off Britain's biggest bank heist in "King of Thieves" (Jan. 25). JACK ENGLISH>Fullscreen A fishing boat captain (Matthew McConaughey) has his life upended by his ex-wife (Anne Hathaway) and her violent new husband (Jason Clarke) in the thriller "Serenity" (Jan. 25). AVIRON PICTURES>Fullscreen A man (Christopher Abbott) wanting to purge his dark past meets a twisted woman (Mia Wasikowska) in the psycho-thriller love story "Piercing" (Feb. 1). UNIVERSAL PICTURES CONTENT GROUP>Fullscreen Zawe Ashton (left) and Jake Gyllenhaal star in Dan Gilroy's Netflix thriller set in L.A.'s contemporary art scene, "Velvet Buzzsaw" (Feb. 1). CLAUDETTE BARIUS/NETFLIX>Fullscreen A family man (Liam Neeson, with Emmy Rossum) turns icy vigilante after his son is murdered in the action thriller "Cold Pursuit" (Feb. 8). DOANE GREGORY>Fullscreen In the thriller "Everybody Knows" (Feb. 8), Javier Bardem stars as a Spanish man whose friend (Penelope Cruz) returns for a wedding where her daughter is kidnapped. Teresa Isasi/FOCUS>Fullscreen Rory Culkin (with Sky Ferreira) plays a teenager who starts a Norwegian black metal band in the 1980s in the drama "Lords of Chaos" (Feb. 8). GUNPOWDER & SKY>Fullscreen Taylor Schilling plays a mom who worries that her boy (Jackson Robert Scott) might be possessed in "The Prodigy" (Feb. 8). RAFY>Fullscreen Sam Elliott stars as a World War II veteran who, decades after assassinating Adolf Hitler, is tasked by the government to hunt down Bigfoot in "The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot" (Feb. 8). RLJE FILMS>Fullscreen After waking up in a future world with no memories, cyborg heroine Alita (Rosa Salazar, with Keean Johnson) tries to find freedom in the sci-fi action film "Alita: Battle Angel" (Feb. 14). 20TH CENTURY FOX>Fullscreen Dwayne Johnson (left) stars as himself and Vince Vaughn is a pro-wrestling talent scout in the comedy/drama "Fighting With My Family" (Feb. 14), about two British siblings trying to break into the WWE. ROBERT VIGLASKY/MGM>Fullscreen College student Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) gets stuck in a time loop yet again, this time to catch a new serial killer, in the horror sequel "Happy Death Day 2 U" (Feb. 14). UNIVERSAL STUDIOS>Fullscreen Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) and his Night Fury dragon pal Toothless embark an epic final adventure in the animated fantasy "How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World" (Feb. 22). DREAMWORKS ANIMATION>Fullscreen Chiwetel Ejiofor (left) writes, directs and stars in Netflix's "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind" (March 1), about a teen (Maxwell Simba) in Malawai who invents a way to save his family and village from famine. NETFLIX>Fullscreen Seana Kerslake stars as a mom who fears the worst when her son disappears and then returns seeming unlike himself in the supernatural thriller "The Hole in the Ground" (March 1). A24/DIRECTV>Fullscreen Tyler Perry puts on the wig and women's clothing as his irascible grandmother character Madea in the comedy "A Madea Family Funeral" (March 1). CHIP BERGMAN>Fullscreen Brie Larson's space warrior has to unlock mysteries of her past in her solo superhero adventure "Captain Marvel" (March 8) before playing a role in "Avengers: Endgame" (April 26). CHUCK ZLOTNICK>Fullscreen A couple of tech upstarts (Alexander Skarsgard, center, and Jesse Eisenberg) compete for fiber-optic supremacy against their old boss (Salma Hayek) in "The Hummingbird Project" (March 15). THE ORCHARD>Fullscreen Former Special Forces operatives (from left, Garrett Hedlund, Oscar Isaac, Ben Affleck, Charlie Hunnam and Pedro Pascal) plan a daring South American heist in Netflix's "Triple Frontier" (March 15). MELINDA SUE GORDON>Fullscreen Winston Duke (top), Lupita Nyong'o and Evan Alex star as family members fighting off their malevolent doppelgangers in the horror film "Us" (March 15). CLAUDETTE BARIUS>Fullscreen A criminal former soldier (Joel Kinnaman, right) works with FBI agents (Clive Owen and Rosamund Pike) to take down a New York crime boss in "The Informer" (March 22). AVIRON PICTURES>Fullscreen Bernadette Fox (Cate Blanchett) goes missing from an idyllic life and her family has to solve the mystery of her disappearance in Richard Linklater’s "Where'd You Go, Bernadette" (March 22). WILSON WEBB/ANNAPURNA PICTURES>Fullscreen Former circus star Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell, left) and his children Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) care for a very special newborn elephant in Tim Burton's “Dumbo" (March 29). DISNEY>Fullscreen Gugu Mbatha-Raw (right) stars as a woman who learns she has supernatural powers and reconnects with her mom (Lorraine Toussaint) while on the run in the thriller "Fast Color" (March 29). JACOB YAKOB>Fullscreen Woody Harrelson (far left), Kevin Costner and Thomas Mann are lawmen hunting down Bonnie and Clyde in Netflix's "Highwaymen" (March 29). MERRICK MORTON/NETFLIX>Fullscreen Kristen Stewart stars a young woman who spends years as the public persona of a literary figure created by her sister-in-law in "JT LeRoy" (March 29). ALLEN FRASER>Fullscreen Emilio Estevez (center, with Christian Slater) directs and stars in "The Public" (spring 2019), about the conflict between patrons and officials stuck in a Cincinnati library during a nasty arctic blast. BRIAN DOUGLAS>Fullscreen Pregnant with Roman Polanski's child, actress Sharon Tate (Hilary Duff) is plagued by strange visions of her imminent death in "The Haunting of Sharon Tate" (April 5). SABAN FILMS>Fullscreen The title teen-turned-superhero (Zachary Levi, right) learns his new powers and deals with bad guys like Dr. Sivana (Mark Strong) in "Shazam!" (April 5). WARNER BROS.>Fullscreen