Lighter Batman Spoils Darker Debut (at Least in North America)

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Everything snapped into place for The LEGO Batman Movie. The animated click—er, flick built itself an estimated $55.6 million take (presumably out of tile-shaped 100-dollar bills and tiny gold coins) to top the North American box office this weekend. And while Batman didn’t earn quite as much out of the gate as 2014’s The LEGO Movie (which collected $69.1 million its opening weekend), LEGO Batman is still on track to become a bona fide (ahem) block buster.

The success of Batman and his excitable caped cohort, Robin, spoiled the debut for another couple of characters who like masks. Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey’s Fifty Shades Darker pocketed about $46.8 million en route to a second-place finish. Not only did Darker finish nearly $9 million behind LEGO Batman, it lagged way behind its predecessor, Fifty Shades of Grey, which collected $85.2 million in its tawdry 2015 opening weekend. Seems darker isn’t always greener.

‘Course when you lump in those North America totals with money earned overseas, the results flip. Fifty Shades Darker has already crossed the $100 million mark worldwide, pocketing $100.1 million in 57 markets—the fourth-largest international opening for an R-rated flick ever, according to Box Office Mojo. LEGO Batman did just fine, but its $92.6 million wasn’t quite enough to knock off Darker.

Still another newcomer, John Wick: Chapter Two finished third with $30 million. Split, which had been No. 1 for three straight weeks, took a torturous tumble down to fourth with $9.3 million. Oscar hopeful Hidden Figures closed out the Top Five with $8 million.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

bobed 4 months ago

I'm saddened and a little disgusted with the direction kids' movies are taking these days, especially after reading the PI review of Lego Batman. Kids' movies are for *kids.* They don't need wink-wink adult humor to be funny or good. Take a movie like Finding Dory - which I hesitate to use as an example, because of my serious issues with its moral content. However, Finding Dory was completely clean other than that one moment (which was not sexual in nature). There were no dirty jokes or wink-wink-adult moments. And it nonetheless managed to be a funny, light, heartfelt movie. Movies don't NEED moments where the word "D*ck" is alluded to in a vulgar context. Kids don't need that! Kids don't need to see that, and neither do I. I lament the success of Lego Batman and I hope, once word gets around among parents, that its success tapers off. 

Andrew Gilbertson 4 months ago
I'm curious- what are you referring to vis a vis Finding Dory's moral content? Not trying to debate that there's an issue there; just curious as to what you see it as.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Totally agree with you. Kids don't need those kind of adult jokes in animated movies. It's the real reason I've despised DreamWorks Animation for years.
bobed 4 months ago
What? In my experience DreamWorks has tended to be slightly cleaner than other studios. Their "adult nods" are usually bizarrely funny references to the likes of Bob Fosse. I'm not saying they're perfect, but I don't think they tend to casually throw out the D-word or anything near that level of content.
bobed 4 months ago
And before you reply with reference to "Sugar Honey Ice Tea" or the entirety of Bee Movie, yes, I am aware. But this is the same company which produced How to Train Your Dragon, The Prince of Egypt, Rise of the Guardians, Kung Fu Panda (which despite its troubling spirituality was a clean and decent film), Megamind (one of my favorites, as a childhood fan of Superman comics - I love the fun they poke), and the underrated Over the Hedge. As well as the Madagascar movies, which have sporadic content issues but which I view as overlooked, frenetically funny flicks. (VidAngel can remove the content issues if it comes down to it.) 

I know many people have this bizarre disdain for Dreamworks, but I have never been one of them.
bobed 4 months ago
How could I have forgotten Chicken Run, Wallace and Gromit, Spirit... Heavens, Dreamworks has produced more films me and my kids love than Disney has! I'm gonna need a bigger comment chain! ☺
Anonymous 4 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

DreamWorks has made a few gems (I loved the first Kong Fu Panda and I enjoyed the third movie; haven't seen the second one yet), but most of them just drip with potty jokes and even adult jokes.

Also, there are cleaner (and arguably better) animated movies that tackle the same subjects of DreamWorks films. Shrek has a nice message about inner beauty, but so does Beauty and the Beast. One movie is definitely cleaner than the other.

Point being, crass humor is something we don't need in ANY movies. Thankfully, Pixar has mostly steered clear of it, which is why I'm such a fan of their work.