‘The Lego Movie’ Was the Weekend Block-Buster

Turns out LEGOs can build more than castles, cars, houses, and whatever else you decide to construct with the toy. Over the weekend, The LEGO Movie proved the colorful blocks can be snapped into box office gold too. Box Office Mojo estimates the movie took top honors by a landslide with $69.1 million. Despite less-than-stellar reviews and a 33 percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, LEGOs came out on top, while another weekend premiere, The Monuments Men, ended up in second place with $22.7 million.

The Passion of the Christ is the only other better performing February opening, making $83.8 million its first weekend. The LEGO Movie ranks highly among original animated movies, and was a hit with the critics as well. It eked past Up’s $68.1 million, and came in just under Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax ($70.2 million) and The Incredibles ($70.5 million). The Simpson’s Movie is the record holder for best animated movie debut, making $74 million its opening weekend. Vampire Academy, another debut for this weekend, also finished in the top ten at seventh place with $4.1 million. Cinemascore-polled moviegoers gave The LEGO Movie and “A.” The Monuments Men had a “B+”, and a “B-” was in store for Vampire Academy.

The LEGO Movie tells the tale of regular LEGO mini-figure Emmet (Chris Pratt) who is mistaken for the ”extraordinary person,” and “Master Builder” who must team up with his friends in order to save the Lego Universe from the villainous Lord Business (Will Ferrell). A combination of LEGO-sized superheroes and characters voiced by A-list actors round out the cast, including Will Arnett as Batman, Jonah Hill as the Green Lantern, Elizabeth Banks as Wyldstyle/Lucy, and Alison Brie as Unikitty.

Nostalgia may have played a role in the movie’s success. Of all the movie’s attendees, 59 percent were older than 18, and men comprised 55 percent of the total. That proportion of male moviegoers is high for an animated movie. Additionally, brand recognition and identification are seen as contributing to the movie’s success. A marketing campaign that showed the movie as providing entertainment on all levels added to the movie’s allure across a broad group. However, it appears 3D did little to boost sales, as only 35 percent viewed it in that format.

The animated movie didn’t ice out Frozen, which is now the highest grossing animated movie of 2013. It brought in $6.9 million over the weekend, for a total of $368.7 million. Ride Along and That Awkward Moment are the other two movies featured in the top five from the weekend. Both were down from last week’s figures; Ride Along by 22 percent and That Awkward Moment lost 36.6 percent of viewers. 

Although none of this weekend’s movies approached the numbers seen for The LEGO MovieThe Monuments Men did perform on par with other recent adult-audience movies, like Captain Phillips ($25.7 million). A star-studded cast, featuring George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, and Cate Blanchett likely helped steer the movie to its second-place finish. The film is based on the true story of a platoon during World War II, which was charged with recovering artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves.

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