Friday, February 07, 2014

The LEGO Movie is Ready to Build an Audience for Top Spot in the Box Office

This weekend Scott looks at one picture with huge blockbuster hopes riding on it, another movie that has had its marketing altered now that Oscar hopes are dashed, and a third that has apparently been forgotten by its studio entirely.

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What may end up being the year's slowest weekend in theatres has come and gone with the Super Bowl, and February now starts off fresh with a few different movies to appeal to a number of different demographics.  The weekend after the Super Bowl can end up faring well, with Identity Thief managing $34 million last year, and the year before coming in even stronger as it had two movies over $40 million, and four over $20 million.  Money is out there to be grabbed, so let's take a look at who is gearing up to grab those consumer dollars this weekend.

First, we have The Lego Movie and it would be absolutely ridiculous to even ponder any movie other than this one coming in first place this weekend.  Family movies have the ability to not only score big their opening weekend, but to also linger around for a while and have a nice slow accumulation of money over the long haul. Even a mid-list example such as Planes was to turn a $22 million opening into a $90 million domestic run.  These films can perform especially well when there is little competition, and the next family animated film is not for another month so it is a clear runway for The Lego Movie to do its thing.  This film could set an early benchmark for success for 2014, and may be the highest grossing animation for some time.

Enough of the longevity talk, though.  We are here to talk about how it will open, so that is now what I will do.  The most successful family movies are the ones that can have some appeal to the parents as well, providing them with a layered humour that will keep their attention while the kids enjoy what lays on the surface.  The trailers for this movie (which is based on a toy that parents will most likely already have a fond memory of) show some decent elements of humour for the adults, lively characters for the kids, and beautiful animation, the trifecta for this kind of film.  Currently the movie is doing very well on Twitter, getting 20 thousand tweets on Thursday, more than any other movie.  This is a very good sign because it is not the typical type of movie that would generate that amount of social media attention.  It very well could be that there will be multiple generations showing up in theatres to see this one and I think that is what could take this film over the top (not to mention the astounding 99% this film has on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of writing this).  I am pretty sure I will be in that lot, I just have to convince my wife that she likes Lego as well.
The Lego Movie Opening Weekend Prediction - $57 million

Also opening this weekend is George Clooney's The Monuments Men, a movie about a team of individuals who set out to rescue precious art during WW2.  The movie was originally supposed to come out in December, but was the victim of some shuffling as it was bumped to many people's surprise.  There was some Oscar speculation around this movie, but now that some reviews for it are coming in it starts to become clear that it was not maybe a loaded schedule that caused the move, but perhaps more of a strategic one to allow Sony to bump American Hustle up by one week and remove it from the fracas that was Christmas time.  It seems as well that there is an altered marketing campaign for this film, with the attention being less on the dramatic elements and more on it being a lighter comedy (perhaps in an attempt to try and draw in a larger audience base).  It is unfortunate that this film is not panning out as was originally hoped, but it should still be able to easily take second place this weekend.

The Monuments Men Opening Weekend Prediction - $16 million

And lastly we have Vampire Academy, a movie that I mocked up and down when I first heard the name.  And why should I not mock?  Twilight was popular, and so was Harry Potter, so let us combine them then into a movie that young adults will be sure to enjoy.  My snarkiness did not last forever, as when I saw the trailers it looked like this movie may be having a fun time playing with the genres, and less time following them.  While that sort of movie appeals very greatly to me, it is not everyone's cup of tea and is not even always recognized for what it is.  Most people still believe that Last Action Hero was a very bad action movie or that the Adam West Batman TV show was poorly written and acted.  I could be wrong, though.  This movie could just be generic filth, but I think it could win some people over the same way Warm Bodies did last year.  What does not help this film out is that I am writing this on Thursday evening and there is not one review on Rotten Tomatoes, a tactic that is usually pulled out when studios are worried their product will not gain good attention.  All of that aside, the social media activity is nowhere near where it should be for a teen film (7,000 tweets on Thursday) and it will not have the kind of opening that they would like for it.
Vampire Academy Opening Weekend Prediction - $8 million

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