Holdovers Rule Over Slow President's Day Long Weekend
By John Hamann
February 19, 2017
Something seems missing at the box office over this President’s Day long weekend - moviegoers.
Yes, last November, Stephen King’s opus The Dark Tower got shuffled to summer, and no other big hitter swung in to take its place. That may be due to the calendar configuration this year, with Valentine’s Day and the President’s Day weekend being quite separate. The last time the two holidays were separate was in 2012. That weekend, three new films got buried by holdover weekends of Safe House, The Vow and Journey 2: Mysterious Island. This year, we have a similar release configuration, with holdovers The LEGO Batman Movie, John Wick: Chapter 2, and Fifty Shades Darker looking to best a weak crop of newbies.
The debuting group includes The Great Wall, with Matt Damon in a Chinese production, Fist Fight, a new comedy with Ice Cube and Charlie Day, and A Curse For Wellness, the latest from Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean, The Ring). Unfortunately, after LEGO Batman opened to $53 million last weekend, they all knew the didn’t have a chance at top spot over the long holiday frame.
Our number one film for the second weekend in a row is The LEGO Batman Movie, the animated film that launched last weekend with $53 million, and stood a great chance of holding well due to the long weekend this time around. The opening day-to-second Friday comparison is telling, as it fell 48% compared to opening day, pulling in $7.6 million. The Lego Movie fell only 34% opening Friday compared to the follow up, which is somewhat normal due to sequelitis. These LEGO Movies seem to have a bit of cult following, so everyone lines up over opening weekend, leaving the second Friday to drag a little.
Over the three-day portion of the long weekend, The LEGO Batman Movie pulled in a strong $34.2 million, off 35% compared to its $53 million opening. The original LEGO Movie fell a stellar 28% - earning $49.8 million in its second frame after opening to $69.1 million. The fact that both percentage drops are solid is very good news for the sequel. The original had fantastic domestic legs, earning a 3.7 open-to-total multiplier, but I do not expect the same for the sequel, as those that were revved up for it saw it over opening weekend, which reduces the multiplier. The original LEGO Movie cost $60 million to make, and earned $469 million globally. The sequel will likely finish shorter on the domestic side ($258 million), and longer compared to the original overseas ($211 million). If Warner Bros. and LEGO can continue to push out solid content like these two films, this franchise could go on for a very long time.
Fifty Shades Darker manages to hang on to second spot at the box office, despite Valentine's Day being in the rear view mirror. Before we get to its second weekend, let me tell you that Fifty Shades Darker did dominate Valentine's Day, earning $11 million on a Tuesday. After its first five days, the sequel had already earned $61.5 million on the domestic side. On its second Friday, though, Fifty Shades could only manage $6.8 million and was off 68% from its opening Friday and Thursday preview. The original opened the day before Valentine's Day in 2015, so its opening day was likely inflated at $30.3 million, and it fell to $8 million, a drop of 73%, five points higher than the sequel.