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Weekend Box Office: Lego Batman, Fifty Shades Darker, John Wick 2 Impress in 1-2-3 Openings

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By Chris Kavan - 02/12/17 at 07:45 PM CT

The three new wide-release films all came out swinging in their opening weekend and led to the biggest weekend yet in 2017 with a $176.9 million weekend. Also impressive is that most of the holdover films fell less than 35% even with the increased competition. In general, it was a very good weekend for Hollywood as moviegoers seemed happy to support both old and new films and should lead to a continued exceptional Valentines offering.


For all the Dark Knights and Dawn of Justices out there, Batman was getting pretty grim. Lucky for us, The Lego Movie spawned this minifig comedy and made us laugh again. Thanks to the great reception of The Lego Movie ($257.7 million domestic, $469.1 million worldwide) and the popularity of Batman in general, The Lego Batman Movie topped the weekend with a $55.63 million debut. Now, to be fair, that opening was generally lower than most expectations (which had it pegged in the $60 million range) and also lower than the opening of The Lego Movie ($69 million) but it should still be a big hit. The $80 million production will easily top that mark and its "A-" Cinemascore suggests audiences were happy with it. Plus, for a kid-friendly film, the audience turned out to be 48% over 25, suggesting this is a hit with both families and general audiences. If this plays out similar to The Lego Movie, Batman should get to near $200 million, if not just over. Because Batman is iconic, this has an even better shot at topping the foreign total for the original Lego movie as well. All in all, this Lego spinoff will do just fine and with little in the way of competition in the near future, should also have some long box office legs.


The sequel to E.L. James female-driven Fifty Shades of Grey, Darker opened up with a stronger-than-expected $46.8 million in a solid second place - after topping Friday by itself. Women turned out in force, making up 70% of the audience with 56% of those coming in under 30. Audiences gave the film a solid "B+" Cinemascore - probably better than it deserves. The film couldn't match the opening of Grey ($85.1 million) but that was to be expected. The original film also saw a massive drop of 74% in its second weekend - something the sequel will avoid now that people know what they are getting in to. The film also posted the 4th-best foreign opening for an R-rated film with $100.7 million overseas. The film still has Valentine's Day to look forward to on Tuesday, and will probably see a noticeable boost from more open-minded couples. Whatever the case, this sequel is looking at a likely $125 million domestic run - still very good on a mere $55 million budget and should be just fine as the trilogy wraps up next year (also on Valentine's - a good trend I would say).


John Wick: Chapter 2 becomes the rare sequel to outperform the original. John Wick opened with $14.4 million (on its way to an eventual $43 million run) back in 2014. Keanu Reeves earned raves at the hitman who finds himself going back to his old life when his personal life is invaded and he must take it back. Chapter 2 opened to $30 million - a good chunk of the entire run of the first film - and looks to have a good shot at doubling the original film's final total as well. The R-rated action film scored an "A-" with audiences, 64% of which was male, topping the "B" average of the first film and also scored better among critics. Taking all this in to account, the idea of trilogy must be sounding pretty good to the studio right about now. Reeves has provided some iconic roles and I think Wick is just another to add to that list.


M. Night Shyamalan's twisted tale of a tortured man dealing with 23 personalities entered its fourth week in fourth place. It sill had a great hold, dipping 35.4% and adding $9.32 million to its total, which now stands at $112.3 million. It only has a few days before it will surpass The Village ($114.2 million) to become the fourth-highest movie for the director. The $112 million also makes it the best total for any Blumhouse film, topping the $107.9 million of Paranormal Activity. It is also the fourth-best worldwide total for the studio, behind three of the Paranormal Activity films and it still has a decent chance of catching at least two out of the three, if not all three outright. I finally saw this and was quite pleased, especially with James McAvoy's performance and recommend this to all psychological thriller fans out there. Plus, it has a nifty ending that promises something more in the future. That hold among competition leads me to believe $125 million is well within reach, and we'll see how far it can go from there.


The Oscar race has been heating up, but Hidden Figures has already won one race. With $8 million (down just 21.5%), Hidden Figures has earned $131.45 million, making it the highest-grossing (domestic) film out of all the best picture nominees. It also looks like the film will be able to pass Sister Act ($141 million way back in 1996) as the highest-grossing film featuring an African-American female lead. All told, Hidden Figures has made a very impressive run at the box office and even if it doesn't go home with a single Oscar, I would say it is still going to wind up one of the biggest winners out there.

Outside the top five: Speaking of Oscar nominees, Lion was the only film in the top 12 to gain an audience share as it jumped 8.6% from 10th to 9th place with $4.08 million, adding to its $30.68 million total. Not to be outdone, La La Land crossed another milestone itself, crossing the $125 million mark with an 8th place $5 million weekend and new $126 million total.

Meanwhile, while xXx: The Return of Xander Cage has just a $43 million domestic cume, it opened to a huge $58.8 million in China (by comparison both Rogue One and Star Trek Beyond could only muster up $31 million each) and becoming the biggest North American opening since WarCraft. That means the film could easily top $300 million worldwide and we could be looking at more sequels for the action series.

Next week brings us an interesting-looking horror film (A Cure for Wellness), a risky action film (The Great Wall) and a comedy (Fist Fight). We will have to see how the current crop of films deal with these newcomers and if any can make as big an impact as the new films did this weekend.


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