Once again, The LEGO Movie was the top draw at the box office, bringing in more than the frame’s two new releases combined. In second place with an estimated $12.3 million, 3 Days to Kill lived up to its modest expectations. And as for the 3D Pompeii? The disaster motif appears apt this morning.
|1.||The LEGO Movie||$31,450,000||$183.1|
|2.||3 Days to Kill||$12,300,000||$12.3|
|5.||The Monuments Men||$8,100,000||$58|
|6.||About Last Night||$7,400,000||$38.1|
Over the last few years it has become somewhat unusual for a film to remain in first place for three or more consecutive weekends. In fact, fewer than 20 films have claimed that honor since 2008, including luminaries like The Avengers, The Hunger Games and both Dark Knight titles. Looking back over the last six months, however, we see that a surprising number of films – five, if you count Lee Daniels’ The Butler’s Labor Day win – have managed a triple play. Following the latter was Gravity, The Hobbit 2, Ride Along, and now The LEGO Movie. Because most years only produce two or three box office three-peaters, the fact that we have already seen two in 2014 is kind of incredible.
Of course, in the end, being a three-time winner doesn’t count as much as a film’s final gross. Ride Along, for example, won’t come close to matching the total of 2013’s two-time number one The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. But it’s February at the box office – we have to take our excitement where we can get it. With that in mind, take a look at Frozen, which is now enjoying its thirteenth weekend in the domestic top ten. Only one film in the last decade has stayed in the top ten longer: the box office anomaly otherwise known as Avatar. With a new domestic total of $384 million, Frozen is now the fourth biggest animated movie of all time, surpassing Finding Nemo just this weekend.
Even amidst the lowered standards of the winter season, neither of this weekend’s new releases is destined for Frozen-sized box office greatness. 3 Days to Kill is clearly the stronger title – based on its profit margin more than its opening estimate. The film is the latest action-thriller from producer Luc Besson – the man behind the Taken films. Back in January 2009, Taken became a massive hit, earning over $226 million worldwide from a budget of just $25 million. In terms of release date, subject matter and budget, 3 Days sticks incredibly close to the Taken mold. In terms of its opening estimate? Not so much. Taken debuted with $24.7 million and its sequel nearly doubled that in 2012. Even if 3 Days to Kill appears underwhelming, it did open in line with expectations and it was a bargain to produce. In the end, it should prove a solid performer for Besson and Relativity Media.
The future for Pompeii seems much more bleak. The historical disaster pic opened with just $10 million from 2,658 locations – many of those screening in higher-priced 3D and large format prints. Though the film’s TV spots tried to draw comparisons to the romantic storyline of Titanic, Pompeii could not avoid disaster. The film cost a reported $100 million, and though it did open higher than January’s similarly 3D-heavy The Legend of Hercules, that’s hardly the measure of success. Pompeii is expected to do solid business overseas, so labeling it a ‘disaster’ may be a touch premature. But when you make a movie about one of history’s biggest cataclysms, that’s the risk you take.
Overall grosses were up over the same frame last year, when Identity Thief claimed its second first place win with just $14 million. Next weekend should also see a slight gain over 2013, provided Non-Stop lives up to expectations. The action-thriller starring Liam Neeson is hoping to do what 3 Days to Kill could not: bring in a Taken-sized opening. Next weekend’s other nationwide release is Son of God, a trimmed down version of the TV miniseries The Bible. At the moment, Son of God is tracking in the $15 million range, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see it open higher. The Bible was a surprise TV event in 2013, and Christian organizations are already hard at work insuring a big debut for the big screen.