Friday Box Office: 'The Lego Movie' Opens With $17 Million

The much anticipated Lego Movie opened yesterday with a dynamite $17.14 million in its first day. That number includes about $400,000 from Thursday shows that started at 10:00pm. Why a kid-friendly, PG-rated animated feature didn’t open a little earlier on Thursday is perhaps a puzzle, but that just shows how odd it is that these Thursday sneak previews are now a completely expected and normal portion of the weekend box office. A better question is why a kid-friendly animated film that is sure to kill on afternoon matinees would bother with advance-night previews at all. I bring this up because it looks like, in such an era where Thursday previews can be a relevant and mathematically significant chuck of the weekend box office, The Lego Movie is going to make about 0.5% of its debut from Thursday grosses.
The comparison this weekend is either Madagascar 3, Monsters Vs. Aliens, or The Lorax. Monsters Vs. Aliens earned $16.5 million on Friday and ended the weekend with $59m. Madagascar 3 earned $20m on Friday and ended the weekend with $60m. Universal’s The Lorax, which I’ve been using as a comparison point for The Lego Movie for awhile, opened with $17.5m and ended the weekend with $70m, or a stunning 4.0x multiplier. The big question is whether it plays like the insanely kid-friendly The Lorax (which was arguably the least “playing to adults too” major animated feature in a long time and followed a months-long drought of kid-friendly films) or like a somewhat more anticipated Monsters Vs. Aliens or The Croods ($11m Friday/$43m weekend), or the “generic blockbuster” $20m Friday/$60m weekend debuts of Madgascar 3 and Kung Fu Panda. Long story short, each of these scenarios is good news for The Lego Movie.
In my day, “trouble” meant no press screenings. Now “trouble” means no press screenings and no Thursday night paid sneak previews. As such, it was a little unexpected that Weinstein Company’s Vampire Academy didn’t just forgo pre-release press screenings, but also Thursday night previews starting before midnight. The low-buzzed young-adult literary adaptation earned $1.43 million on its first day. The film should earn about $4m for the weekend, pretty terrible even by the standards set like the likes of The Host. I hate to say this, but the entire future of the female-centric fantasy-literature adaptation genre is basically in the hands of Divergent.
That’s it for today, as I’ll have time for holdover news (Ride Along will top $100 million today or tomorrow) when the weekend figures drop accordingly. For now, if you’ve seen The Lego Movie, sound off below. If you want to discuss spoilers, please label accordingly or I will edit or delete offending comments. Sorry, I’m a stickler for this kind of thing.