“The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” is dominating North American moviegoing but opening well below forecasts with about $40 million at 4,303 sites this weekend, early estimates showed Friday.
Paramount Pictures’ launch of the comedy “What Men Want” will lead the rest of the pack with about $20 million at 2,912 locations, in line with recent projections. Lionsgate’s Liam Neeson thriller “Cold Pursuit” is heading for third with around $11 million, followed by STX’s fifth frame of “The Upside” and Universal’s fourth weekend of “Glass” in the $7 million range. Orion’s debut of supernatural thriller “The Prodigy” is heading for sixth between $5 million and $6 million.
“The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” the fourth movie in the Lego franchise, had been pegged to open with $50 million but narrowly topped “What Men Want” in Thursday previews with $1.5 million. Warner Bros. provided an estimate in the $40 million to $45 million range at mid-day Friday while another studio forecasted in the $35 million area.
The animated comedy stars Chris Pratt as the voice of Emmet Brickowski and new character Rex Dangervest. The story follows the always-optimistic Emmet searching for Lucy (voiced by Elizabeth Banks) after her abduction. Tiffany Haddish is voicing the shapeshifting Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi, along with Will Arnett as Batman.
Mike Mitchell directed “The Lego Movie 2,” while Phil Lord and Christopher Miller produced and co-wrote the film with “BoJack Horseman” creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg. Reviews have been strong, with the film earning an 84% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The original “The Lego Movie” debuted with an impressive $69 million on the same weekend in 2014 and “The Lego Batman Movie” generated a $53 million opening weekend in February 2017. “The Lego Ninjago Movie” was decidedly less successful with a $20 million launch in September, 2017.
“What Men Want” stars Taraji P. Henson in a reversal of Mel Gibson’s “What Women Want.” Henson plays a sports agent able to hear men’s thoughts. Reviews have been mixed, with a 48% Rotten Tomatoes score.
“Cold Pursuit” carries the additional baggage of Neeson-generated headlines this week for making racist comments about a friend’s rape 40 years ago. Forecasts have been in the range of $7 million to $10 million from 2,6300 theaters. Neeson plays a Colorado snow plower who seeks vengeance after his son is mysteriously murdered.
Orion is releasing “The Prodigy” with expectations in the $7 million range. “Orange Is the New Black” actress Taylor Schilling stars in a story of parents forced to investigate if their child is possessed by evil spirits.
Domestic moviegoing has been soft so far in 2019 with a 16.6% decline to $904.5 million as of Feb. 6, according to Comscore.