Monday Wrap Session – “The LEGO Movie” Builds Big

BY TIM BARLEY AND MIKE REYES

The LEGO Movie built itself a big opening, while The Monuments Men searches for its treasure

The LEGO movieGood Monday to you all, Mixers! We’re back from an interesting weekend where we’ve learned two important lessons: never underestimate the power of a kids’ movie, and yes… there is such a thing as a “CriticProof” film. While the world watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, movie going audiences has three age-variant movies to choose from. One for the kids, one for the kids and one for the ‘tweens. And although the The LEGO Movie scored huge with audiences and garnered mixed reviews from critics, including our own Mike Reyes, The Monuments Men took it on the chin and Vampire Academy was a real let down. Have vampires fallen out of favor? 

Let’s take a look at this weekend’s box office numbers.

Box Office Estimates 2/7 – 2/9 (courtesy of Box Office Mojo)

1. The LEGO Movie: Actual: $69.1 mil. / Estimated – $43 Mil. – (1st)

2. The Monuments Men: Actual: $22.7 mil. / Estimated Gross – $6 Mil. – (3rd)

3. Ride Along: Actual: $9.4 mil. / Estimated Gross – $10 Mil. – (2nd)

4. Frozen: Actual: $6.9 mil. / Estimated Gross – $5 Mil. – (4th)

5. That Awkward Moment: $5.5 Mil.

6. Lone Survivor: Actual: $5.3 mil. / Estimated Gross – $3 Mil. – (5th)

7. Vampire Academy: $4.1 Mil.

8. The Nut Job:  $3.8 Mil.

9. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit: $3.6 Mil.

10. Labor Day: $3.2 Mil.

The LEGO Movie outpaced projections for this weekend, and ranked #1 in the top spot with a $69.1 Mil. opening! Your mileage may vary on how good the film itself was, but it was undeniable that people took their kids out in droves to see this (and possible Frozen, which STILL ranks in the top five) more than likely newly minted franchise. Score another one for Lord and Miller, but score a half notch for George Clooney.

While his acting career is pretty consistent, his writing/directing career seems to be hit or miss. His last directorial effort, The Ides of March, pulled in only $40 Mil. Domestically, but had a solid 85% of positive reviews by critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Well, it looks like he might have found a way to make money, but at the expense of critical love, as The Monuments Men came in 2nd this weekend with $22.7 Mil in grosses but 33% on the Rotten Tomatoes scale. Though that didn’t stop our intrepid group of West Coast Mixers from seeing the film with Overlord Tim at this weekend’s screening, and we thank them for ignoring the reviews in the name of a good time. (Whether the movie was good or not is up to you.)

Rounding out the Top 5 is Universal’s two modest hits Ride Along (our 3rd place champ) and That Awkward Moment (the 5th place film). The former officially crossed $100 Million, and is practically a shoo-in for further installments, and the latter has doubled its modest budget in two weekends of screenings. It’s not exactly a break out micro-blockbuster, but it’s not going to be a stain on anyone’s resume, so the glass is really half full on this one.

The rest of the weekend’s top films saw a lot of returning favorites from last month (Lone Survivor, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, and The Nut Job) as well as two films that just kinda splatted on impact (Vampire Academy and Labor Day). Cheer up, folks! Home Video does wonders for a film waiting for an audience! (And a note to Vampire Academy’s distributor, The Weinstein Company: Wouldn’t this have been the PERFECT time to release Snowpiercer? Hell, nature’s giving you all the free PR you could have wanted, and you’re passing it up for what will probably be an extremely limited release. Do you just not feel like trying to sell a film if it doesn’t “win” you nominations?)

Monday means it’s time to reset the clock, sit back and take stock of what’s coming. Which means a couple of reviews will be coming our way, as well as the usual Trailers, Thoughts, and Things that come to mind. Whatever your choice in film and drink, Cocktails and Movies is here to top you off as well as tip you off. After all, you shouldn’t be watching bad movies without good cocktails?