Lego, Last Night Find Valentine Success
By John Hamann
February 16, 2014
What happens when you combine a movie-going long weekend with Valentine’s Day on a Friday? Huge dollars rolling through movie theaters, despite a blizzard of Olympic-sized proportions.
I have been curious for a while as to how this weekend at the box office was going to shape up. We haven’t had Valentine’s Day on a Friday since 2003, and then 1997 before that. In 2003, studios didn’t seem to realize the power of the biggest date night of year landing on a Friday, as Fox released Daredevil, and despite its incredibly bad buzz and mockery, it still managed to earn $40 million over three days. The other new release was The Jungle Book 2, a film that would have likely gone straight to DVD now, which opened to $11 million. Eleven years later, Hollywood is trying a new approach, releasing THREE Valentine’s Day films – About Last Night, Winter’s Tale and Endless Love – hoping to capitalize on the big day. Why? Because the 18% fresh Valentine’s Day opened to $56.3 million in 2010. This movie was a turd, and it still grossed a sizzling $23.4 million on Sunday, which in that year was Valentine’s Day. It had one of the worst opening-to-total multipliers ever at 1.96, but made the studio a bucket load of cash.
At the other end of the spectrum, it is also President’s Day weekend, so while the romantic movies played well on Friday, other films were looking forward to having what plays like two Saturdays over the long weekend. The Lego Movie positioned itself well, seeing the sweet spot and hammering it. New release Robocop opened Wednesday, hoping to spread the love over the long weekend, and sacrificing Friday. Holdovers like The Monuments Men and Ride Along were looking for the same effect. In the end, we have one of the bigger February weekends ever, led by the absolute monster that is The Lego Movie.
Yes, our number one movie of the weekend is The Lego Movie, which repeats on top after last weekend’s massive $69.1 million opening weekend. After opening so big last weekend, Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow wanted to keep the momentum going this weekend. They likely were expecting a slower Friday due to Valentine’s Day, and then having the film pop for the kids over Saturday and Sunday. That wasn’t the case, as the Friday number for The Lego Movie was huge, at $13 million, off only 24% from last Friday, and that number was inflated somewhat due to Thursday previews. If it matched last weekend’s internal multiplier (weekend gross divided by Friday gross) of 4.04, The Lego Movie was set to pull in $52.6 million for the weekend.
On Saturday, The Lego Movie earned $20.5 million, an increase over Saturday of $7.5 million. Last weekend, the animated hit jumped 80% from Friday-to-Saturday, earning $30 million Saturday before dropping 31% on Sunday. This time around, the drop was less on Sunday, and The Lego Movie earned a stellar $48.8 million from Friday-to-Sunday, and will likely earn Sunday’s gross again on Monday. I can’t hit the huge button enough on this one, as The Lego Movie continues to shock and surprise me. The weekend to weekend drop is only 29%, and pretty much guarantees a $225 million plus debut for this soon-to-be franchise. If this weekend’s gross were the opening gross for The Lego Movie, it would be the fifth biggest February take of all time.