Lego Movie Destroys Sturdy Monuments at the Box Office
By John Hamann
February 9, 2014
The marketing has been in play for months, but I believe the TV ads really put The Lego Movie up over the top, as it directly engaged adults as well as kids. Adults were able to see the humor, the characters and the filmmaking within these short spots, and the music caught everyone’s attention. Then the reviews came, and they were nothing short of spectacular. Currently at Rotten Tomatoes, The Lego Movie has only four negative reviews out of a possible 113, leaving it with an uber-fresh rating of 96%. The Cinemascore also came in at A, so the filmmakers have put forward a great product and a sequel is already scheduled. Going forward, The Lego Movie is positioned extremely well. President’s Day is next weekend, so a drop higher than 30% would be a surprise, which means this one will have easily earned $100 million by the end of next weekend. It then has until March 7th – a full month to operate – before another animated feature hits the scene in the form of Peabody and Mr. Sherman. This is an amazing start for a new super-franchise, and the future definitely looks bright.
Finishing second is The Monuments Men, George Clooney’s true story of museum curators going to war to steal art back from the Nazis. With a star-studded cast that includes Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett and John Goodman, and a plotline that screams Oscar, one had to wonder why Sony pushed this one from a prime December release to this weekend, which can be bleak at best. Clooney said that visual effects weren’t ready, but if they could finish Wolf of Wall Street in time for Christmas release, one has to wonder.
Thanks to the all-star cast, The Monuments Men still opened okay, earning $22.7 million from 3,083 venues. It managed to succeed despite reviews on the dismal side, as it is currently 33% fresh, with 49 good reviews out of a possible 148. Word-of-mouth seems decent enough, though, as the Cinemascore was a B+. The Monuments Men could easily have pulled a Labor Day and died like last weekend’s opener, which earned only $5 million, but instead its cast shines and draws crowds. The Monuments Men cost $70 million to make, and the cast and plot line should be able to deliver strong overseas results, so it will be interesting to see how The Monuments Men performs in the end.
Third spot goes to the film that has been number one for the last three weekends, Ride Along, starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart. Despite the new competition and losing 67 venues, Ride Along still held up well for Universal, pulling in $9.4 million in its fourth frame. That’s good for a decent drop of 22%, and pushes the film over the $100 million domestic mark in its fourth weekend. Remember, this one cost the studio only $25 million to make, so a gross so far of $105.2 million and a finish around $125 million is pretty spectacular. Kevin Hart fans don’t have long to wait for another release of his; he stars in About Last Night, which opens on Valentine’s Day next weekend.