Box Office Wrap Up: New Films for the Win.
This week all three new arrivals made the top three, with LEGO Batman taking the honors.
The slump is over. Last week’s new arrivals, led by LEGO Batman, took the box office by storm…despite a crippling storm covering the northeast. All three films were sequels to successful franchises. Together, they propelled the box office to a fantastic take of 174 million. This is up over 100% from last week AND last year, and is the busiest the box office has been in this week historically, by a long shot. While it was not enough to set an all-time February record, it was enough for both LEGO Batman and 50 Shades Darker to place in the top ten Feb. opening weekends of all time.
Generally the box office doesn’t wake up from it’s slumber until Valentines day, but these three films have all staked out early February as their territory. The original LEGO Movie, John Wick, and 50 Shades films all debuted around this time and had stellar success. Expect to see more iterations of these franchises lighting up the winter box office in years to come.
The LEGO Batman Movie took first place with a solid 53 million dollars. This is a touch lower than 2015’s surprise hit, The LEGO Movie, which managed 69 million dollars. The film has had solid critical response and is already making decent money overseas. As a follow up to a quirky comedy franchise, this film was a resounding hit.
Second place went to 50 Shades Darker, the follow up to 2015’s 50 Shades of Grey. It’s 46 million dollar take was less than half of the original film’s opening, but that film was a promotional juggernaut, trading on notoriety and the tremendous success of the novels it is based upon. The real test will to see how this film fares going into the Valentine’s day weekend. It has already scorched the foreign box office for nearly 100 million dollars, so the franchise is certainly in no trouble going forward.
Third place was reserved for my man Keanu Reeves and the action packed John Wick 2. I loved this movie, and critics and audiences agreed. It pulled in a tight 30 million dollars for it’s debut. While that was only good enough for 3rd place, it is more than double the opening weekend take of the first film. As I said in the review, this film establishes John Wick as a true franchise, and the numbers back that up. It has had moderate success overseas, mostly in Russia…which is strange because John’s hobby is artfully shooting Russians in the head. Go figure.
*Editor’s Note: Go see John Wick 2! Lionsgate is giving away a ton of package deals that include the first movie and ticket coupons. They’re supporting this film in a big way, and there’s no better time to get on board!*
Despite the new arrivals sweeping to the top of the pile, it was a good weekend for pretty much everyone. Four of the returning films from last week so minuscule drops of 35% or less, indicating that people were out in force to watch movies last weekend.
Fourth place saw M. Night Shyamalan’s Split take in a decent 10 million dollars. The film’s first week out of first place only saw a drop of 34% in ticket sales, and it has managed to cross the 100 million dollar earnings mark domestically. With a budget of only 9 million dollars, you can see why rumors are flying hot and heavy about fast-tracking a sequel.
In fifth place we saw Hidden Figures standing strong. The film only lost 21% week over week in ticket sales. The buzz is so strong with this film going into the Oscars, I’d be seriously surprised if it doesn’t make big waves.
Other Oscar hopefuls had good weekends as well. La La Land had only a modest decline to remain in the top ten at position eight. It has returned 130 million dollars in sales on a 30 million dollar budget. This could be the spark that sees more musicals getting big screen releases.
Lion, starring Dev Patel and Rooney Mara, actually managed to move up a spot this week, going from tenth to ninth. It was the only returning film in the top ten to see an increase in ticket sales from last week. They’re going to need all the ticket sales they can muster: nearly all of the Oscar nominated films are due to be available on streaming come next Tuesday, with the exception of Lion. If you are doing an Oscar pool, this is the one film you’re not going to be able to sneak into your queue at home before the big ceremony.
Top Ten Movies.
1. The LEGO Batman Movie (53.0)
2. 50 Shades Darker (46.6)
3. John Wick Chapter 2 (30.4)
4. Split (9.5)
5. Hidden Figures (8.0)
6. A Dog’s Purpose (7.2)
7. Rings (5.6)
8. La La Land (4.9)
9. Lion (3.9)
10. Sing (1.7)