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« Review: The LEGO Movie | Main | 21 Days Til Oscar »
Sunday
Feb092014

Box Office: Lord Business Does Big Business with "The LEGO Movie"

Amir here, with the weekend’s box office report. To the surprise of nobody, tiny little yellow people beat middle-aged white men to the top spot at the box office. The LEGO Movie, advertised around the world building toys we loved as kids, took the top spot with $69.1m, which makes it the second best February opening of all time and among the best original releases ever – only a little off the all time high set by The Simpsons Movie, though you can judge for yourself how 'original' they are. The Lord/Miller directing duo is going to have a terrific year with their sequel to 21 Jump Street also on the way. With box office and critics both in their camp, expect their stock to rise even higher within studios. The LEGO Movie is the first blockbuster I watched on the opening Friday in ages (Skyfall was the last!) and I was thoroughly rewarded with an unstoppable thrill ride. 

chart adapted from boxoffice.com

The Monuments Men was obviously never going to win the weekend but it did very respectable business. Whether it can sustain these numbers over long run despite terrible word of mouth is to be seen, but I can’t help but think Clooney and co. saved themselves a lot of embarrassment by switching their release date to February. Awards expectations are anathema to weak prestige projects like this and competition at the multiplex is no less lenient in late December. In other news, Frozen just passed Despicable Me 2 to become 2013’s third highest grosser. It won’t be able to go any further up the ranking, but the numbers are beyond impressive at this point. International sales is also nearing one billion dollars, a feat very few films can lay claim to.

In Oscar related news, seven of the nine best picture nominees are still in the top 20. Most of them lost a lot of theaters this weekend and as the shine of their nomination wears off, they’ll continue to drop. Still, most can be considered financial successes at this point. Considering budget and overseas sales, Nebraska is the one film that missed the mark, though who knows how Dallas Buyers Club and Her will perform internationally.

Anyway, other than The LEGO Movie, I watched a European co-production called Girl on a Bicycle, about which the less said the better. What did you watch this weekend?

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Reader Comments (14)

Nothing in theaters but I finally watched "Short Term 12" on Apple TV a few hours ago. While I didn't love it quite as much as Nathaniel did, I have to say that it was well-done and very engaging.

February 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Armour

I watched The Lego Movie over the weekend too. It was super fun. Also watched Robocop one weekend before, but ended up feeling the hero was actually Gary Oldman, not Joel Kinnaman.

And because it is Chinese New Year (or it's called Spring Festival in some places), there were a bunch of meaningless slapstick comedies made just for this season, from both Hong Kong and also my local country Malaysia. I watched a few of them too, mostly because my parents wanted to, it's been a tradition for us to watch such comedies in Chinese New Year season. We just want to laugh out loud without thinking too much.

There was one local production I particularly like, it's called "The Journey". This movie got a lot of publicity back then when they were shooting it, when they called for public to be involved in the process (as supporting players or cameo appearances in various scenes). It starred an Aussie actor named Ben Andrew Pfeiffer (no relations to Nathaniel's goddess La Pfeiffer, I googled it LOL) and tells a story of how this Caucasian guy learned to appreciate Chinese culture through his times with his soon-to-be father-in-law. Entertaining and touching at the same time. I was so moved by it I even wrote a review immediately after the movie, something I was too lazy to do most of the time.

Oh, and because I took the whole week off and stay home in this CNY season I also watched Short Term 12 through DVD. In the DVD there were also extras like the original short film, deleted scenes, the making of, and the making of the music. I feel like I’m watching the whole process of how this movie came to be. I like the movie a lot, thanks Nathaniel for continuously recommending it here.

February 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPJ

I watched and enjoyed "The Monument Men" Clooney and company have made a good if very traditional War World II movie- perhaps a bit too traditional for modern audiences.

February 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

i had a double feature of OF HUMAN BONDAGE (1934) and CAGED (1950) and it was only after Caged ended that I suddenly realized I'd just seen two movies directed by the same person (Father of James Cromwell, John) . It was not at all intentional but they were both actressy so i approve of him.

February 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I'm afraid I've been totally caught by the Olympics. It's as addictive as binge TV viewing. An event starts, I think what the heck is that, but after several minutes I'm totally gripped. It's so scary and suspenseful and beautiful and awe inspiring.

February 9, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteradri

The Olympics, TV (I finally finished season one of Orange is the New Black this weekend), and live theatre (Waiting for Godot on Broadway - Gandalf and Captain Picard are both so fucking good in it) took up most of my weekend. The only movie I watched was Kick Ass 2, which was not great, but God(ot) Aaron Johnson wears that costume well. I'm actually kind of ashamed of watching Kick Ass 2 because originally, I settled in to watch Krystof Kieslowski's Blue, and within about ten minutes I knew it was just not the right time for me to watch that particular movie. So, yeah. I watched Kick Ass 2 instead of Blue, and I feel like I should have my cinephile badge rescinded, but such is life. I'm gonna go see a bunch of old Polish movies at Lincoln Center later this week to make up for it.

February 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSmith

I had a lazy weekend in and watched Weekend , Human Nature and Museum Hours . Pretty random selection but enjoyed all three! Did you ever catch Museum Hours , Nathaniel? What did you make of it?

February 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarlos

Carlos- I don't think Nathaniel has watched it yet, but it's my favorite film of 2013.

February 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

I could only go to the movies once this weekend, and two films I've been dying to see finally opened in local art houses: The Great Beauty and Gloria. I've been burned by one-week-only art house runs a LOT this past year (Short Term 12 and Wadjda to name two) and Beauty was playing in the one that typically books longer runs, so Gloria it was.

I was a little cool on the film - it might be a little too quiet for its own good? - but Paulina Garcia was great. Such expressive eyes. My mother is also a fifty-something divorcee getting back into the dating pool, and I had wanted her to come with me but she couldn't make it. I recommended it to her very strongly, though. How she reacts to it may push it up in my estimation.

February 10, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

I finally saw 12 Years a Slave on Friday and am still recovering. Dallas Buyers Club on Sunday helped. I think it's a semi-perfect companion piece to last year's How to Survive a Plague.

But, seriously, all the awards to Steve McQueen and his masterpiece. 100%.

February 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJesse

Museum Hours ended up being my favorite movie of 2013, too! Almost more like a mediation than a movie, but a very beautiful one.

February 10, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterlylee

I saw the live action shorts. I'm in love with Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything), but I really liked four out of the five.

February 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

I finally screened "Her" (absolutely beautiful) and "Dallas Buyers Club" (pretty good). Silver dollar goes to the first person who can explain to me why Jared Leto has been sweeping all of the supporting actor awards.

February 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

Troy -- because he "transforms" and you know how crazy they go for that. plus awards bodies love gay characters that die

February 10, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

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