Holy, box office champ! “The Lego Batman Movie” is heading for a dominant $41 million at the North American box office this Presidents Day weekend, taking in more than the combined haul of three new entries, early estimates showed Friday.
Action-fantasy “The Great Wall” was heading for $18 million at 3,325 sites for the Friday-Monday period, while high school comedy “Fist Fight” looks likely to finish around $14 million at 3,185 locations. Meanwhile, horror-thriller “A Cure for Wellness” was scaring up a modest $5 million at 2,704 screens.
The second weekend of “Fifty Shades Darker” appeared likely to challenge “The Great Wall” for runner-up as the erotic sequel saw patronage plunge by about 67% from its opening weekend. The follow-up to “John Wick” may also contend for second with a projection of $16 million.
“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 $103 million in its first 11 days. Will Arnett returns as the voice of Batman, along with Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, and Ralph Fiennes. “Lego Batman” opened with $53 million on Feb. 10-12.
Universal’s “The Great Wall” is performing in line with forecasts, which had pegged the the film to finish in the $17 million range. Matt Damon stars as a European mercenary joining the fight against monsters during China’s Song Dynasty.
The Legendary production has already grossed a hefty $171 million in China since its Dec. 16 debut and another $50 million in other international markets. It’s opening in 21 more territories this weekend. “The Great Wall,” directed by Zhang Yimou, carries a $150 million budget — the most expensive movie ever shot in China — and is co-financed by Le Vision Pictures and China Film Group. Damon stars alongside Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe, and Andy Lau.
New Line’s “Fist Fight,” starring Ice Cube and Charlie Day as feuding teachers, is performing at the lower end of recent forecasts, which had pegged it for $15 million over the four-day Presidents Day weekend. The titular fight erupts when Cube’s character, a history teacher, blames Day’s English instructor for getting him fired. Jillian Bell, Tracy Morgan, and Christina Hendricks also star.
“Fist Fight” should be profitable for New Line as it carries a $20 million price tag and will be the only comedy until Warner Bros. launches “Chips” on March 24.
“A Cure for Wellness” looks likely to be a money-loser for Fox and New Regency, which spent $40 million on the production. Directed by Gore Verbinski, “Wellness” centers on a young executive (Dane DeHaan) trying to retrieve the company’s CEO from a shadowy spa in the Swiss Alps.
Fox apologized on Thursday after reports emerged that it had created “fake news” stories, such as a nonexistent meeting between President Donald Trump and Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, at a resort, to promote the film.
The three new films have not received much critical support with “Fist Fight” scoring a 32% rating on Rotten Tomatoes while “The Great Wall” earned 37% and “A Cure for Wellness” came in with 39%.
The muted performance by the three new films will cause the 2017 Presidents Day weekend to fall well short of the same frame from the last two years. “Deadpool” set a record last year, taking in $152 million as part of a $278 million overall domestic gross, according to comScore. That broke the record set by 2015’s “Fifty Shades of Grey” with $85 million (the total haul was $248 million).
Fox’s awards contender “Hidden Figures” is expected to continue its solid performance this weekend with as much as $8 million at 2,271 sites after nearly two months in theaters. The historical drama, which is nominated for Best Picture, has grossed more than $135 million domestically.
Universal’s horror thriller “Split” is also pegged to remain a player in its fifth frame with about $7 million at 2,445 locations. The James McAvoy vehicle grossed an impressive $116 million in its first four weeks.
Universal’s third weekend of Amblin’s feel-good drama “A Dog’s Purpose” was heading for $5 million at 2,400. “Purpose” took in $45 million in its first two weeks.