Less than a week ago, Warner Bros. Pictures was expecting its animated sequel “The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part” would dominate the weekend box-office with a $55-60 million opening – a number a few million shy of its predecessor but easily one of the stronger openings of the season.
When the smoke cleared on Monday however, the film had fallen short of expectations – drastically. The film earned $34.4 million in total, enough to take the top spot but far behind estimates and nearly half that of its predecessor. International ain’t going to save it, the franchise has always skewed much stronger domestically and its launch in over 60 countries this past weekend drew only $18.1 million from global markets.
The original film was a critical smash and a big hit – costing an economical $60 million it ultimately grossed $469 million worldwide. However, after the failure of “The LEGO Ninjago Movie” which made $123 million on an $80 million budget, it was hoped this full fledged-sequel at a more costly $99 million budget would re-establish the brand.
Instead, the soft opening has played out like other high profile sequel flops in recent years where follow-ups were ordered to films that simply didn’t need them including “The Smurfs 2,” “Ted 2,” “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” and “Alice Through the Looking Glass”. It also has raised questions as to the viability of the franchise in the future.
Variety reports that Warners execs are attributing the decline to diminished enthusiasm for the series in terms of older audiences (under 18s made up 41% of the first film’s opening and nearly 50% of the second). The first iteration tapped heavily into nostalgia whereas the new one was marketed more like just another children’s animated film. The studio reportedly hopes to pick up steam next weekend for the President’s Day holiday.