BOX OFFICE PREVIEW: Little Legos Expected To Make Monster Opening

Warner Bros.’ will be planting its flag in its tentpole this weekend with The Lego Movie which will dominate the three-day box office. Done in association with Village Roadshow, Lin Pictures and Vertigo Entertainment, the picture is crossing demos from family to older teens with the hopes of pulling in an even older audience. College anyone? It doesn’t hurt that the voices are well-known names: Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill. Chris Pratt leads. It’s the first full-length movie based on the LEGO brand, which by the way, has done a phenomenal job re-inventing itself and keeping relevant with an entirely new generation of consumers. The 3D animated, PG rated film could take in a whopping $38M to $42Mthe studio thinks, but others think it could go much higher … much, much higher … unless the inclement weather across the nation dampens movie going this weekend. It bows in 3,775 theaters and there is no holdover stopping it so the weekend it is a wide open weekend for Warner Bros. In addition, Fandango let it be known today that The Lego Movie is turning out to be the second biggest advance ticket-seller among all animated films, behind only Toy Story 3. The company says that as of this morning, sales are surpassing advance ticket sales for Frozen (which opened to $67.3M in 3,642 theaters), Despicable Me 2 (opened $83.5M 4,003) and Monsters University (opened to $82.4M in 4,004 theaters) at the same point in its news cycle. Frozen and DM2 both opened on holiday weekends, but still, Wow. Rotten Tomatoes has The LEGO Movie rated higher than Frozen, Monsters and DM2. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are the screenwriters of the witty banter. There are two other newcomers this weekend — Columbia Pictures’ The Monuments Men and The Weinstein Co.’s Vampire Academy. The George Clooney, Matt Damon ensemble cast set in WWII is based on a true story about rescuing stolen art from the Nazis. The film, also directed by Clooney from a script by him and Gran Heslov, is obviously tracking older and if the bad reviews don’t scare folks away, it is set to make around high-teen to $20M. It bows in 3,083 locales. The one-sheet looks like Oceans Eleven in olive drab but it’s more like The Dirty Dozen. With two big storms coming in, older audiences are less likely to brave the cold to venture out. Meanwhile, The Vampire Academy looks to take about $10M to $12M but needs to make $15M so here’s fingers crossed that the weather will cooperate. Last month, The Weinstein Co. had moved the vampire pic from Valentines Day to this Friday to give it time to play before Robocop and the Kevin Hart-starrer About Last Night bowed.

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