“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.
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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.