Exhibitors can rest easy knowing that moviegoing will return to some sort of normalcy this weekend after that dreadful $73.4M Super Bowl period; the lowest 3-day since the final weekend of August 2017. After the Big Game and Universal/BVI/Blumhouse’s Glass scared away a number of major studios from competing, the marquee space is about to fill up very fast.
Warner Bros.’ The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, one of four wide entries this weekend, will easily notch No. 1 with a $50M-$55M start at 4,276 locations. However, by Wednesday, another three titles will hit with Universal/Blumhouse’s Happy Death Day 2U, Fox/Lighstorm’s Alita: Battle Angel, and New Line/Bron Studios’ Rebel Wilson comedy Isn’t It Romantic. It’s a complete flush of multiplexes’ inventory and the box office chart, one which is long overdue. Since the start of the year, exhibitors have only had dribbles of new product.
There’s hardly any kids out on Friday with only 2% K-12 off per ComScore, so why the flood? Essentially it’s a drum roll to lead into next weekend’s Valentine’s Day/Presidents’ Day 5-day stretch (Thursday through Monday). Twenty-one percent K-12 and 9% colleges will be out on Feb. 15 with 89% K-12 out and 32% colleges on break by Feb. 18, Presidents’ Day. Winter breaks will be in effect for a couple of weeks, so there’s money to be made. However with no Marvel pic on the release schedule this month like Black Panther a year ago, expect February ticket sales to be down. That B.O. boost has shifted to next month when Captain Marvel takes off on March 8.
Lego Movie 2‘s opening, though lower than the 2014 surprise original which debuted to $69M, is in the same range as The Lego Batman Movie which opened to $53M exactly a year ago and legged out to 3.3 multiple of $175.7M. Christ Pratt and Elizabeth Banks have left no stone unturned in their promotion of the movie, especially on social media. The Second Part is further boosted by a $100M global promo campaign with advertisers such as Chevrolet, Chiquita, Discover, McDonald’s, and Turkish Airlines. Paid previews were held in around 550 locations nationwide two Saturdays ago and we hear that they rang up around $400K.
Critics off 51 reviews to date are giving Lego Movie 2 a 92% fresh. The first pic was certified fresh at 95%. To date, Warner’s Lego franchise counts $904M through three movies at the WW box office; The Second Part will send the series well past $1B. Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo and Trolls director Mike Mitchell is at the helm here with a script by the original movie’s directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.
Second belongs to Paramount’s Taraji P. Henson R-rated comedy What Men Want, an inverse remake of the hit Mel Gibson 2000 comedy What Women Want. Pic will play at 2,900 on its way toward a $18M-$20M opening. Previews are Thursday at 7PM. Adam Shankman directs and Will Packer and James Lopez produce this pic about a woman who is boxed out by the male sports agents in her profession, but gains an unexpected edge over them when she develops the ability to hear men’s thoughts. A Rotten Tomatoes score hasn’t registered yet. The original What Women Want opened to $33.6M ten days before Christmas and legged out to $182.8M.
Lionsgate/Summit has their Liam Neeson action pic Cold Pursuit which is looking at $7M-$10M. That result falls below the Taken star’s previous solo outing a year ago, The Commuter ($13.7M). The good news? Off 36 reviews, Cold Pursuit has an 86% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. The bad news? Those awful racist anecdotes that are haunting Neeson. Will that hurt business? As recently reported, Lionsgate killed the red carpet at tonight’s NYC premiere in the wake of the bad news which Neeson is trying to walk back. Neeson isn’t a man with a gun in this movie, but a family man with a snowplow who seeks revenge against the drug dealers who he believes offed his son. Pic is based on the 2014 Norwegian film In Order of Disappearance.
R-rated horror thriller The Prodigy from Orion is booked at roughly 2,525 theaters. Young females are the core demo, but there’s hope that they’ll pull in older males and females as well. Industry projections are along the lines of The Witch ($8.8M opening) and The Gift ($11.8M opening). Previews start at 7PM on Thursday. A big sell here for horror fans: Orion will drop the first trailer for its Child’s Play trailer exclusively in theaters this weekend. Nicholas McCarthy who was behind such horror features as The Pact and At the Devil’s Door, helmed The Prodigy. Orange Is the New Black‘s Taylor Schilling plays a mother whose young son seems to be possessed. She must choose between her maternal instinct to love and protect him and a desperate need to investigate what the heck is making him so crazy. Orion makes these horror pics on a shoestring, and this one we hear is around $6M before P&A. No RT score yet.