“The Lego Batman Movie” is dominating the North American box office with an estimated $44 million this President’s Day weekend — nearly matching the combined haul of “Fifty Shades Darker” and “The Great Wall.”
Universal’s second weekend of “Fifty Shades” is heading for $24 million at 3,714 sites and its action-fantasy “The Great Wall” was projected to wind up with $21 million at 3,325 locations for the Friday-Monday period. Lionsgate’s second weekend of “John Wick: Chapter 2” is finishing in a solid fourth place with $19.5 million at 3,113 venues as holdovers propped up the holiday weekend business.
New Line’s opening of high school comedy “Fist Fight” showed only a modest punch in fifth with around $14 million at 3,185 locations. And Fox’s horror-thriller “A Cure for Wellness” was scaring up a modest $4.9 million at 2,704 screens as it was projected to finish 11th.
“Lego Batman,” Warner Bros.’ spinoff of 2014’s “The Lego Movie,” is playing at 4,088 sites and will wind up the weekend with more than $108 million in its first 11 days. It opened with $53 million on the Feb. 10-12 weekend, so it’s declined by only 35 percent in the second Friday-Sunday period.
Will Arnett returns as the voice of Batman, along with Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, and Ralph Fiennes. “Lego Batman” scored strong critical support with a 91 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Popular on Variety
“Fifty Shades Darker” declined about 55 percent from its opening weekend and should finish the weekend with an 11-day total of $93 million, more than halfway to the $166 million domestic total for “Fifty Shades of Grey” two years ago.
Universal distribution chief Nick Carpou said, “‘Fifty Shades is serving as strong counter-programming to the rest of the market. We’re seeing more couples going to it now.”
Universal’s “The Great Wall” is performing above recent forecasts, which had pegged the film to finish in the $17 million range. Still, the number isn’t particularly impressive, given the $150 million budget for the Legendary production — the most expensive movie ever shot in China.
Matt Damon stars as a European mercenary joining the fight against monsters during China’s Song Dynasty. Carpou said the PosTrak surveys showed “The Great Wall” drawing 58% male and 75% over 25.
Thanks to a strong performance in China of $171 million, “The Great Wall” has totaled $262 million worldwide. Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore, said the film performed respectably in the U.S., given the audience’s lack of familiarity with China.
“It’s not a bad start in the U.S. for a film that traveled from East to West,” he added. “The Matt Damon brand was a key.”
“John Wick: Chapter 2” remained a surprisingly powerful player in its second weekend and should top the $60 million cumulative mark by the end of Presidents Day. The stylized actioner has eclipsed the entire run of 2014’s “John Wick,” which hit $43 million.
“Fist Fight,” starring Ice Cube, Charlie Day, Christina Hendricks, Dennis Haysbert and Tracy Morgan, generated a B CinemaScore. It’s a low-risk project for New Line with a $20 million budget and will remain the only R-rated comedy in the market until Warner Bros. opens “Chips” on March 24.
Paramount’s “Hidden Figures” stayed solid over the weekend in sixth with $8.5 million at 2,217 sites, pushing the awards contender to a $144 million domestic total after nearly two months in release.
A pair of Universal holdovers took the next two spots with the fifth weekend of M. Night Shyamalan’s horror-thriller “Split” taking in $7.9 million at 2,445 locations, followed by feel-good drama “A Dog’s Purpose” with $7.4 million at 2,400 venues. “Split” has been enormously profitable for the studio, given its $9 million budget and a $124 million domestic gross.
Lionsgate’s “La La Land,” which earned a record-tying 14 Oscar nominations on Jan. 24, is heading for a ninth-place finish with $5.9 million at 1,587 sites, giving the musical comedy-drama $135 million after 11 weeks. The Weinstein Company’s “Lion” was battling for 10th with “A Cure for Wellness,” both with $4.9 million.
“Wellness” looked anything but healthy for New Regency and Fox, given its $40 million price tag. Dane DeHaan stars in the story of a young executive sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from a mysterious “wellness center” in the Swiss Alps.
With the new arrivals generating only moderate results at best, the holiday frame was only the eighth largest Presidents Day weekend of all time. Overall business was projected by comScore to hit $178 million for the four days — a full $100 million below the same weekend a year ago, when “Deadpool” and “Kung Fu Panda” led the way.
Year-to-date domestic box office is $1.518 billion, down 3.7% from the same point a year ago. Dergarabedian said business should pick up in March with strong business forecast for “Logan” (March 3), “King Kong: Skull Island” (March 10) and “Beauty and the Beast” (March 17). “We should see a record-setting year and March will be the real kick-off,” he added.