“LEGO Batman” Clicks Against Its Formidable Competition


February 10-12, 2017

(estimates from BoxOfficeMojo.com)


The LEGO Batman Movie  $55.6 million
Fifty Shades Darker  $46.7 million
John Wick: Chapter Two $30.0 million
Split  $9.3 million
Hidden Figures $8.0 million

Despite opening well below what their predecessors did a few years ago, The LEGO Batman Movie and Fifty Shades Darker both boasted the biggest openings of 2017 thus far. And by virtue of that, are the No. 2 and No. 3 movies of the year already. The LEGO Batman Movie will surely overtake Split at some point, given its likability, its wide audience and and solid reviews. But both those reviews and the audience's reaction with ticket sales approached the love that greeted the The LEGO Movie in 2014. That comedy classic opened with $69 million, and stayed No. 1 for three straight weekends, eventually grossing $257.7 million domestically. The LEGO Batman Movie won't get that high, but $200 million is certain in range, given the lack of big family movies until Beauty and the Beast opens March 17.

Fifty Shades Darker certainly took a hit. The original film debuted two years ago with more than $85 million. This opening is nearly $40 million less, which may seem to suggest the hype is waining for the erotic franchise. There's still Fifty Shades Freed to open next year, but this is one of the quickest cases of diminishing returns I've ever seen. At least it's good news for journeyman director James Foley. In his more than 30 years in the business, this is by far his biggest movie already in just three days. In fact, it's bigger than his next two biggest movies (2007's Perfect Stranger and 1996's Fear) combined.

John Wick: Chapter Two definitely proved the Keanu Reeves franchise was back. This sequel opened to more than double the 2014 original. That's pretty rare for a direct sequel to do that these days, and generally only happens when a movie does marginally well, then a ton of people discover it on cable and home video (the same thing happened to both Austin Powers and Pitch Perfect). That's pretty awesome for such a well-done film, which made a lot of people genuinely excited for the sequel, instead of just seeing it out of obligation. Split and Hidden Figures – the only other movies to be No. 1 in 2017 – fell to Nos. 4 and 5.

Outside the top 5:

  • This Weekend's Indie Champ: Kedi, a documentary about the Turkish city as seen through the eyes of (and I am not making this up) a local cat. It took in a whopping $40,510 on just one screen.
  • A United Kingdom, the inspirational true romance of the Botswanan prince and his British wife, also did well in limited release, averaging $17,500 on each of its for screens.
  • Magnolia's annual compilation of the Oscar nominated short films took in a so-so $660,000 in its first weekend.

Next week:

Will audiences accept Matt Damon in what is clearly a Chinese blockbuster in The Great Wall? Will they still want to see Ice Cube yell at someone who's not Kevin Hart in Fist Fight? And will they satisfy their morbid curiosity to see A Cure for Wellness despite what are sure to be some really terrible reviews? I think the answer to all these will be "No." The LEGO Batman Movie will repeat at No. 1 with $38 million, Fifty Shades Darker will repeat at No. 2 with $20 million, while A Cure for Wellness will be a surprise No. 3, but with only $17 million. The others won't even be close.



About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.

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