Despite consistently positive reviews from critics, the Lego Movie franchise has faced a series of diminishing returns since it debuted back in 2014. That trend continued over the weekend as The Lego Movie 2 debuted to just $34 million, roughly half the opening of the first film, while also pacing significantly behind that of The Lego Batman Movie ($53 million). As the first mainline sequel in the series, its worrying that the only entry it was able to best is 2017’s widely ignored Lego Ninjago Movie.
It’s difficult to place blame in instances such as this one because there really is no obvious weak link. Chris Pratt is one of the biggest movie stars working today, while writers Phil Lord and Chris Miller are hot off their Into the Spider-Verse awards wins. Reviews were also generally favourable, albeit slightly less enthusiastic than the first time. So what went wrong?
Perhaps it just took too long to get here. The first Lego Movie was released five years ago, meaning that some of the children who enjoyed it will now be facing their angst-ridden teenage years. While Pixar franchises have enjoyed long breaks before returning to huge business (see: Incredibles 2, Finding Dory, Toy Story 3), those films hold a unique sentimental value across generations that simply isn’t shared by Emmett and the gang. The lengthy absence likely wasn’t helped by the shrug-worthy Batman and Ninjago movies effectively diluting the brand.
Things were a fraction more positive for What Men Want, as the comedy remake took second place with $19 million. It’s a passable result for Taraji P. Henson, outpacing her previous two starring vehicles Proud Mary and Acrimony, but hardly setting the world on fire. With an affordable $20 million budget and a probable future on rental or streaming services, the film will almost certainly turn a neat profit.
Liam Neeson weathered the controversy surrounding his bizarre recent remarks, with Cold Pursuit opening in similar territory to the actor’s other action fare. A weekend haul just shy of $11 million puts it more or less equal with The Commuter, Run All Night and A Walk Among The Tombstones.
Rounding out the top five, Kevin Hart’s The Upside continued to enjoy miniscule drops, this time tumbling only 16 per cent in its fifth week of release. M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass conceded the top spot after reigning for three weeks, taking in another $6 million for a domestic total just a little short of $100 million.
Audience appetite for yet another low-budget horror was relatively low, as The Prodigy opened to just $6 million. Of course, that was all the film cost to produce, so this result is no disaster for neither Taylor Schilling nor MGM’s relaunched Orion Pictures.
This is the top ten in full:
- (-) The Lego Movie 2 – $34 million
- (-) What Men Want – $19 million
- (-) Cold Pursuit – $10.8 million
- (2) The Upside – $7.2 million
- (1) Glass – $6.4 million
- (-) The Prodigy – $6 million
- (6) Green Book – $3.5 million
- (4) Aquaman – $3.3 million
- (5) Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse – $3 million
- (3) Miss Bala – $2.7 million