Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The LEGO Movie Towers Over the Rest at the Box Office

The LEGO Movie built itself some powerful momentum this weekend to smash expectations at the box office. Scott analyzes its success along with the other two new releases in his latest box office piece.

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When I started doing the weekly box office predictions at the start of last summer, I slowly began to feel as though I was starting to catch a groove, becoming more and more confident of my predictions and hovering somewhere around the 70 percent mark for accuracy. ‘Right on,’ I tell myself as I began honing it in and feeling really slick and sly about everything. And then the winter dump comes into theatres, throwing everything up into the air just to allow the fates to decide where it will fall. And why does this happen?

Because this is the time of year that sees throw away movies come out, movies where even the studio is unsure of how it will fare. If a studio was confident in the film, it would place it during a better time of year. That is the case for some films. Other films, such as some horrors and comedies, are able to perform as solid counter programing to the Oscar jetsam that is floating around in the sea of movies.

As a rookie to the whole game of predictions, I am coming to the realization that anything goes in the winter, and nobody quite knows just how the audiences will attach to different movies.

It was easy to see that The Lego Movie would be able to do well this weekend and grab first place, but the level of success came as a huge shock to most outlets, as an opening of around $50 million seemed to be the expectation. I thought I was going on the high end of things with a prediction of $57 million, and was then shocked with it landed the second best February opening weekend with $69 million.

What really helped the movie was a good marketing campaign and solid critical response to the film as it was able to get many different ages out to see it. It also looks as though word of mouth played a huge role in its performance as it gained a massive 80% Saturday over Friday. It is safe to say there will be a sequel coming our way.

Also opening fairly well this weekend was The Monuments Men, a movie about a team in World War 2 who are trying to recover priceless art work before it gets destroyed. It was directed by George Clooney, and, even though it had poor critical reception, it pulled in a decent $22 million. It looks as though the latest attempt to market the film as more comedy than drama paid off, but it still has a ways to go to make back its $70 million budget. International response will be what ends up deciding the profitability of this film, because it is possible that it may top out at around $60 million in the domestic market.

And lastly, there is Vampire Academy, a movie that I was showing a little kindness towards during my prediction piece on Friday. Perhaps I should not have… perhaps, indeed. While I gave it the benefit of the doubt that it may be a smart play on the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises, it sounds as though it was not, and that it was not smart at all. Critics were not the only ones who did not like it, as audiences failed to show up and it made $3.9 million, averaging only $1,466 per theatre. It has the misfortune of being the tenth worst opening for a movie opening to more than 2,500 theatres as well as having the fifth worst opening Saturday in the same category. It is just another example that attempting to copy others and expecting success does not mean box office gold.

And still interesting to note, Frozen is still in the top five in the box office. It has now past Despicable Me 2 and landed as the third highest domestic grossing film from 2013. Currently, it is sitting at $913 million world-wide.

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