The top five

The Lego Movie 2 opened to a much, much softer than expected $34.4M this weekend. Now, it’s not uncommon for movies to perform a bit off from tracking, but $10M-20M less than expectations is pretty disappointing. There were honestly no immediate signs that this film would underperform like this at least for me, who saw it and loved it. The trailers seemed solid, it had been over a month since the last major family movies came out over the holidays, and the critical reception was very good (albeit not as stellar as the first movie).

Doing some further analysis though, I realized that the release time for Lego 2 – five years after the original – is fundamentally just not a good period for making animated sequels. For these types of films, it’s best to make a follow-up either just two-four years after their predecessor to make sure the audience for the previous film is still in the same age group, or wait a decade to make the next one to cater to newfound nostalgia. If you’re interested in my full write-up and analysis about animated sequel performance, you can check it over here.

What Men Want, the Taraji P. Henson and Tracy Morgan-starring comedy from prolific producer Will Packer, opened to a solid $19M. Considering this title only had a $20M budget, it should be profitable in no time.

Liam Neeson’s Cold Pursuit started out with $10.8M. That’s around what non-Taken Neeson-starring action titles often open to – The Commuter, Run All Night, and A Walk Among The Tombstones. Not a very good result though, considering the reported $60M budget. I’m sure Neeson’s recent controversial comments didn’t help, but I think this title was pretty DOA from the start, thanks to it being more of a dark comedy than the kind of traditional action movie his fans show up for. Maybe overseas will save the box office numbers for this one, although I doubt it.

The Upside had a soft 17% drop to $7.2M. This is really the box office story over the year so far. The movie going from the scrap pile of the collapse of TWC to becoming a word-of-mouth hit is quite a achievement, props to STX for this one.

Other notables

Aquaman and Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse continue to hold well in the domestic market, with soft drops this weekend once again. Oof, that second weekend drop for Miss Bala though. Between this and Proud Mary, Sony just can’t get a break with their early-in-the-year action movies.