Friday Box Office: 'LEGO Movie,' 'About Last Night' Dominate Valentine's Day

Feb 15 2014, 12:15pm CST | by

It is a ridiculously crowded weekend over the Valentine’s Day/President’s Day holiday, and as such this weekend’s analysis will be mostly confined to new releases and very recent holdovers. Apologies in advance, but I guess that means there’s a Box Office Catch Up in the future. For the record, 12 Years A Slave just passed $100 million worldwide, Monuments Men dropped just 28% from last Friday for a $5 million second Friday and a $33 million cume, Ride Along has crossed $110 million, and Frozen just crossed $370 million domestic.

Anyway, The Lego Movie will dominate the long weekend, as Warner Bros. knew full well when they picked last weekend on which to open the picture. Generally speaking, the best weekend to open is right before a holiday. You open big, and then you use the holiday weekend to inflate your second weekend hold if the word-of-mouth works in your favor. Holiday weekends are fine for big debuts, but you have to account for the post-holiday crash next weekend.The film earned another $13.03 million, down just 24% from last Friday’s opening day.

The much-buzzed about Warner Bros. (a division of Time Warner) release has earned $93 million domestic and should easily top $100 million sometime today. The LEGO Movie is a clear case of a white-hot hit, the kind of buzzy picture that actually hurts demographically similar films. It certainly hurt Robocop just as The Avengers genuinely wounded Battleship back in 2012. The marketplace can often survive one big film opening the weekend after another biggie, but February isn’t generally the time when general moviegoers see everything that’s out. It should end the holiday weekend with over/under $52 million, bringing its domestic cume up to around $145 million after eleven days.

The studios usually confine themselves to one such big romantic movie over this holiday weekend, think Safe Haven or Valentine’s Day: The Movie, but this time the word of the day was “overkill”. The clear winner in this timely mush-fest is Sony’s African-American-centric remake of About Last Night. Starring red-hot Kevin Hart as well as Michael Ealy, Regina Hall,and Joy Bryant, the film earned a terrific $13 million on its opening day, making it far-and-away the biggest opener of the holiday weekend.

The film played 63% female and 42% under 30. Give or take the weather and random brushes with fate, the $12.5 million-budgeted film should score over/under $35 million for its Fri-Sun total and over/under $40 million for the holiday. If studios were waiting to see if Ride Along was a fluke, expect Kevin Hart to get offered a million vehicles on Tuesday morning. Don’t be too shocked if you start reading posts touting Kevin Hart for John Stewart in the Justice League movie.

Universal’s remake of Endless Love showed surprising date night power yesterday, pulling in a solid $7.3 million and setting itself up for a $22 million holiday haul. Produced by Bluegrass Media and distributed by Universal (a division of Comcast), the $20 million romantic drama is already a hit, but it will be interesting to see if it’s a “one night only” occasion, with a low weekend multiplier due to Valentine’s Day being last night. Pure speculation, but it’ll be something to watch for tomorrow.

The film is a desperately needed hit for would-be “it guy” Alex Pettyfer, who underwhelmed in a handful of starring vehicles back in 2011 (Beastly, I Am Number Four) and may or may not get a proverbial second chance for this cheap hit. I’m not saying he was really a draw for the (I presume) teenage female audience, but he’ll still get a boost, deserved or not. Female lead Gabriella Wilde probably won’t get much traction from this beyond more girlfriend roles, because to quote Babe (one of the greatest movies ever made), that’s just the way things are.

The film that many presumed would dominate the weekend even a few months ago was Sony’s remake of Robocop (yes, there are three remakes of 80’s films this weekend, discuss amongst yourselves). But due to mediocre reviews, a lack of any real buzz, and The LEGO Movie stealing away the key teen boy demographic, it just wasn’t to be. The film opened on Wednesday and went into the weekend with $4.9 million. It added a surprisingly robust $7 million today. Of course, had it not opened on Wednesday, we’d be talking about a $12 million opening day, but that’s a conversation for another time.

The $100 million sci-fi thriller should end the holiday weekend over/under $25 million and $30 million for its first six days. It’s not a disaster at all, especially considering its anemic $2.8 million Wednesday, but it’s not a genuine hit yet either considering the budget. I don’t expect legs on this one, with The Wolfman being the likely comparison point ($31 million debut/$61 million domestic finish). The film is kicking butt overseas already, with $34 million as of today overseas, with China, Japan, and Brazil yet to open. This may be another “underwhelms in America, scores overseas” kind of hit. We’ll see.

Warner Bros. also has a new release yesterday as well. Winter’s Tale has a beloved novel for source material, an eclectic cast (starring Colin Farrell, with Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe, and Will Smith in supporting roles of varying size), but it lacked any real buzz going into the weekend. It also suffered from some of the most jaw-droppingly bad reviews I can remember (so bad that they make me want to see it). The film earned just $3.6 million for its first Friday. It’s the only out-and-out miss of the weekend, which is saying something considering the sheer amount of product in the marketplace.

Produced by Village Roadshow and Weed Road Pictures for $46 million, it’ll likely end the holiday with over/under $12 million. For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t be too quick to celebrate the fact that the lone original picture in a sea of remakes is the only out-and-out flop. Say what you will about the film or director Akiva Goldsman (it’s time to forgive him for Batman & Robin), a mere novel adaptation filled with grown-up movie stars failing while explicit remakes prosper is not super healthy for the industry, even if I’d argue few of the attendees of the various remakes (save Robocop) knew much about or cared about the source material.

That’s a wrap for today!  Join me tomorrow for a look at the weekend estimates and more analysis. In the meantime, I’ll be traveling to LEGO Land for the holiday, so I’ll likely be writing the weekend wrap-up in a LEGO Land hotel lobby. Hmm, if interview park staff about the impact of the movie and/or merchandising sales, does that make my vacation a business trip/tax write-off? If only I wrote for a publication filled with people who could answer such a question…

Source: Forbes Business

 
 

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