Here are your three-day box office returns (new releases bolded):
1. The Lego Movie - $31.4 million
2. 3 Days to Kill - $12.3 million
3. Pompeii - $10.0 million
4. RoboCop - $9.4 million
5. The Monuments Men - $8.1 million
6. About Last Night - $7.4 million
7. Ride Along - $4.6 million
8. Frozen - $4.35 million
9. Endless Love - $4.30 million
10. Winter's Tale - $2.1 million
The Big Stories
Can Anything Beat The Lego Movie?
When life gives you movies by Paul W.S. Anderson and McG, what do you do with those lemons? You say screw the lemons and you bail to see The Lego Movie. Surely that's what Kunu did this weekend along with the bulk of American moviegoers. The path to $300 million (if Lego is to get to there) must be paved with some weaklings along the way, and that's what we have this weekend and in the foreseeable future. Even if this is likely its last weekend at the top, it can start its run all over again in 2017 when the sequel comes out.
Not Quite the Kevin Costner Comeback... Yet
Kevin Costner has been a movie star for over 25 years, and between 1987-'93 he had a string of genuine classics even if their successes might pale in comparison to the numbers we see today. Titles like The Untouchables, Bull Durham, Field of Dreams and JFK, and still Costner has only been involved in four films that grossed over $100 million: Dances with Wolves, Robin Hood, The Bodyguard and last summer's Man of Steel. Ticket inflation actually drives the number to 10, but aside from his supporting turn as tornado food those films are tucked firmly away in the '80s and '90s.
Since the epic failure of The Postman in 1997, Costner's films have been less than classic and inflation hasn't made the ticket sales look any better.
Open Range ($58.3 million), The Guardian ($55.0), Message in a Bottle ($52.8 million), Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit ($48.4 and counting), Rumor Has It ($43.0), For Love of the Game ($35.1), Thirteen Days ($34.5), Dragonfly ($30.3), Mr. Brooks ($28.5), The Upside of Anger ($18.7), Swing Vote ($16.2), 3000 Miles to Graceland ($15.7), The Company Men ($4.4)
The slightly good news is that of the 11 movies on that list to have a wide opening weekend, 3 Days to Kill opened better than six of them. Screenwriter Luc Besson transplanted the core of his Taken scenario (ass-kicking dad trying to do right by his family), gave it a True Lies spin and critics ate it alive with just a 25% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. That ranks it ninth on the year out of 18 wide releases; only two of which still have a fresh rating (Lego and About Last Night).
These numbers are probably worse news for McG than Costner, who still has two films on the schedule this year (including April's Draft Day, which Lionsgate and Summit are pretty high on) and a long career ahead. 3 Days to Kill, meanwhile, is going to do less than the director's This Means War ($54.7 million) and We Are Marshall ($43.5 million), and unless it picks up some considerable steam overseas, is going to be a seventh straight loser for Relativity.
Paul W.S. Anderson's Disaster Movie
Not just the people from Pompeii but the people in it and their fearless leader, hack extraordinaire Paul W.S. Anderson. Just because people have been beaten into casually forgiving the growing Resident Evil series doesn't make the guy an auteur worth defending.
Paul W.S. Anderson at the Box Office
Alien vs. Predator ($80.2 million), Mortal Kombat ($70.4), Resident Evil: Afterlife ($60.1), Resident Evil: Retribution ($42.3), Resident Evil ($40.1), Death Race ($36.3), Event Horizon ($26.6), The Three Musketeers ($20.3), Soldier ($14.5)
That list is not so much to show you the grosses as it is to list the films of an extraordinarily bad filmmaker. OK, I like Event Horizon. Sue me. Feel free to sue yourselves if you like any of the others. Pompeii opened with just a bit more than Event Horizon did in 1997 and if the grosses on Anderson's films do set a trend it suggests it will finish in the U.S. somewhere between $20-30 million.
Not too great for Sony/Tri-Star and their $100 million investment. Disaster films do find their footing overseas, but in the U.S. Pompeii is Sony's worst opener on this many screens since The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. With RoboCop and The Monuments Men still a long ways to go from breaking even, the studio is off to a very inauspicious start to 2014 and we're only talking its February releases.
How High will The Lego Movie Climb?
Let's focus on the positives, though. Lego slowed down just a tad this weekend. To those suggesting it had a shot to reach $300 million, I suggested it needed to be over $30 million in weekend three. And that it did. But was it enough?
Compare it to Warner Bros.' last big hit in an off-peak season, Gravity. On its 17th day of release it had grossed $169.5 million. The Lego Movie is at about $183. Both movies were number one for three straight weeks. The Lego Movie will be bounced back to number two next week (behind Non-Stop) and possibly number three (if people who missed The Bible miniseries show up for Son of God). It may dip to number five (just like Gravity) in week five and then hold steady in the middle of the pack while word of mouth gets around on its competitors. Gravity ended up with $268 million in the U.S. and $701 million worldwide. If the pattern holds, The Lego Movie will finish its U.S. run with around $285 million, making it the family event of the year. At least until How to Train Your Dragon 2 arrives.
- Erik Childress can be seen each Thursday morning on WCIU-TV's First Business breaking down the box office on the Movies & Money segment.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]
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