"The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” was easily the top ticket-seller in theaters over the weekend, but the film’s US$35 million opening failed to stack up to its expected haul, according to studio estimates Sunday.
The animated sequel had been forecast to draw around US$50 million. Instead, it debuted with half the US$69 million the 2014 original did, despite good reviews and an A-minus CinemaScore.
With about a US$100 million budget, Warner Bros.′ "The Lego Movie 2” had been pegged as a dependable, star-studded franchise release sure to kick-start a moribund box office. But after record ticket sales last year, Hollywood’s 2019 has gotten off to such a bad beginning that the movie’s tagline of "Everything is not awesome” is looking more like accurate industry analysis.
"The expectations were certainly much higher for ‘The Lego Movie 2’ considering the success of the first installment,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore. "We were all hoping that this would be the weekend that got the momentum of the box office going in the right direction. We’re still waiting.”
Every weekend this year has been down from the same weekend a year ago. That is a streak sure to continue. Next weekend, the new releases include "Happy Death Day 2U” and "Alita: Battle Angel.” What opened the same weekend last year? "Black Panther.”
"Momentum is everything at the box office,” Dergarabedian said. "And we’ve sort of lost that.”
Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Will Ferrell and others reprise their voice roles in "The Lego Movie 2,” while Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph join the cast. Mike Mitchell directs the movie written by original writer-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
Oversaturation could be to blame. Since the 2014 original, which grossed US$469 million worldwide, Warner Bros. released two spinoffs: "The Lego Batman Movie” in 2017 and "The Lego Ninjago Movie” later the same year.
Distribution executives for Warner Bros. declined to comment on the weekend’s results.
Until now, 2019′s sluggish box office was partly blamed on lack of quality releases, with only a handful of highly promoted films from major studios. This weekend saw a relatively robust slate of releases, including Taraji P. Henson’s "What Men Want” and the Liam Neeson thriller "Cold Pursuit.” Both did solid if not spectacular business.-AP