The news out of Bricksburg this weekend was both good and bad.
First, the good: “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” Warner Bros.’s latest story about animated Lego bricks and set in a plastic metropolis, topped the domestic box office. It sold about $35 million in tickets.
The bad news: That figure is just about half of the $69.1 million its predecessor made nationwide during its opening weekend in 2014, according to Box Office Mojo, and considerably less than what most analysts expected.
The sequel was written by the duo behind the “The Lego Movie,” Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, but this time directing duties were taken by Mike Mitchell (“The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water”). In the sequel, Chris Pratt lends his vocal cords to the ever-optimistic hero Emmet alongside Elizabeth Banks (his companion Lucy), Will Arnett (an absurd Batman) and an ensemble that includes Tiffany Haddish, Maya Rudolph and Jason Momoa, who voiced a brick version of his box office titan, Aquaman.
The movie brought in an additional $18.1 million overseas this weekend, according to the studio. Reviews have been generally favorable (with an 84% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes). But after an extremely weak Super Bowl weekend for ticket sales and a fairly quiet January, “The Lego Movie 2” failed to give the box office the boost it needed.
Coming in second was another debut: Paramount’s “What Men Want,” a comedy starring Taraji P. Henson that sold $19 million in tickets this weekend according to Comscore, which compiles box office data. Henson plays an Atlanta sports agent who gains the power to hear men’s thoughts. The movie, directed by Adam Shankman, functions as an inversion of Nancy Meyers’s “What Women Want” (2000), which starred Mel Gibson as a male reader of women’s minds.
Lionsgate’s “Cold Pursuit” might have been just another brutal revenge tale had its star, Liam Neeson, not made headlines last week following an interview in which he described a personal racist revenge story. The outcry that followed resulted in the cancellation of red carpet events for the film, which stars Neeson as a Colorado snowplow driver avenging a son’s death.
Still, the film met analysts’ expectations, selling around $10.8 million in tickets this weekend and landing in third place at the box office.