LEGO Movie 2’s Not-So-Awesome Debut

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You’d think that The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part would be a blockbuster. After all, LEGOs are all about blocks, right? But while The LEGO Movie 2 did cruise to a win this weekend, it’s leaning toward more of a bust.

The newest LEGO flick earned an estimated $34.4 million, which easily outdistanced its nearest competitors and is admittedly enough to buy even the most expensive of LEGO sets—even the Millennium Falcon. But while a win is a win, this victory might just be enough to inspire the Danish toymaker to create a King Pyrrhus minifigure: After all, LEGO 2’s take was about half of what the original LEGO Movie opened with back in 2014 ($69.1 million), and about $20 million below what Warner Bros. expected from the sequel in its opening frame. Even now, President Business may be looking for a bottle of glue to patch the franchise’s faulty financials together.

Still, this is hardly the stuff of Ar-money-a-geddon. Time’s on the movie’s side, given the fact that critics (84% on Rotten Tomatoes), audiences (A-minus on CinemaScore) and even Plugged In liked LEGO 2. Like the blocks themselves, this movie could still prove to be pretty durable.

The weekend was dominated by newcomers. What Men Want, an R-rated comedy starring Taraji P. Henson, nailed down second place with $19 million. Another freshman film, Liam Neeson’s darkly satirical thriller Cold Pursuit, scrambled into third with $10.8 million. The only new wide-release movie that didn’t make it into the top five was a horror flick, The Prodigy, which finished sixth with $6 million. But given that the movie only cost an estimated $6 million to make, its producers probably aren’t too upset.

Two durable holdovers closed out the top five. The Upside finished fourth with $7.2 million. And Glass, which had won the box-office crown for three straight weekends, plummeted all the way to fifth with $6.4 million. (But speaking of upside, Glass comes away with one of its own: The M. Night Shyamalan flick has now earned $98.5 million, and it should crack the $100 million barrier in the next few days.)

Next weekend, we’ll be keeping our eye on a new big-budget challenger, Alita: Battle Angel. But if early financial predictions are right, we could be looking a box-office bust that’ll likely make LEGO 2 feel a bit more awesome about its performance.

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.

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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And concerning Fantastic Beasts I personally thought The Crimes of Grindewald had more jam packed action scenes and more fantastic special effects than all the Harry Potter films combined. I just don't understand the complaints about it not having enough action scenes in it, because from what I saw it was practically non-stop action from beginning to end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yes! The effects visually were amazing.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In my opinion the first two Harry Potter films were cute and kid-friendly albeit with some frightening images at the end, then the third one came along and things started getting progressively darker, and then by the time the Goblet of Fire came out all bets were off and you could tell there was something different in these films, with the next 4 all getting darker and darker as they went. And then came Fantastic Beasts which to me was somewhat more light-hearted than the last couple of Harry Potter films had been, but was still very enjoyable. And The Crimes of Grindewald pretty much follows suit, except it amps up the coolness factor by 10 and adds way more special effects into the mix, so for me in some ways these Fantastic Beasts movies are sort of like the first two kid-friendly Harry Potter films, just with way more special effects.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And by the way the only Harry Potter film I never liked as well as the others was The Prisoner of Azkaban, with Deathly Hallows Part 2 definitely being my favorite, but really everything from The Goblet of Fire to now has been simply outstanding.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I honestly hated the Goblet of fire. The story is amazing in the book, but the movie is awful. The acting is bad, some of the plot twists seemed like there was no set up for it. Granted the effects were amazing and the ending with Voldemort was awesome. But I just didn't like it. I do agree with you that starting at three the story got progressively better. I'm not saying one or two were bad, but compared to five, six, and seven, they weren't as awesome. I did enjoy Fantastic Beasts the Crimes of Grindelwald. It wasn't the best one wizarding world movie IMO, but definitely not the worst.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous More than 1 year ago

I saw Won’t You Be My Neighbor on PBS of all places this weekend and really really loved it. Outside of a couple of unnecessary to me gay talk and butt jokes it really was a sweet, heartwarming, good-natured, extremely spiritual movie about a really wonderful man. I highly recommend Won’t You Be My Neighbor to just about anyone.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Man this stinks, seeing The LEGO Movie 2 underperform the way it is. It makes me feel bad for Warner Brothers honestly. They fix one movie franchise (DC), and now the Harry Patter franchise and the LEGO franchise need repairing. Maybe they made too many LEGO movies since the first one. I mean Ninjago didn’t really do the franchise any favors.

Anyways, I saw the film and it was GREAT! Aside from the huge plot twist that didn’t 100% work (change it a bit and it would have), it was as fantastic as the first one, and it joins the first LEGO Movie as one of my all time favorites.

Please, if you care about Hollywood making quality films, GO SEE THE LEGO MOVIE 2!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A friend of mine once accurately described his and my thoughts on the Ninjago Movie thusly, "We liked it more for what it was trying to be, not what it ended up being."

Still, those mech sets were beautiful and great fun to build and display.

-Evan
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First Comment Guy has reclaimed his throne! 

To the subject matter: YES! GO SEE THE LEGO MOVIE 2!!!! I was one of the few who went and saw it this weekend. And it was not as good as the first one but still good. 

@First Comment Guy I don't understand why you think the Wizarding World franchise needs repairing. Fantastic Beasts and the Crimes of Grindelwald was pretty good in my opinion. Yes there were not so great parts to it and it did feel like a set up for the third movie, but it was still worth seeing! IMO. Grindelwald is a great villain and I can't wait to see more of him. 
And if you're talking from a cash and critics perspective. When are the critics right? They thought Robin William's Hook was bad and that The Last Jedi was great. Plus Fantastic Beast still made over half a billion dollars at the Box Office, not bad IMO (granted it wasn't nearly as much as the first one made or the Harry Potter films made).

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Fantastic Beasts franchise needs repairing because both critics and audiences disliked it, turning it into the lowest-grossing film in the franchise, which should be worrying to everyone, especially Warner Bros. It doesn't matter if you personally liked it. The critics don't even really matter - the money matters, and the audiences matter, and despite your personal opinion, most audiences couldn't stand it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Ok, so for the record, I've never seen any of the Harry Potter movies. Harry Potter has divided Christians over whether they should be allowed to watch it or not, and my family leaned on the side that said that Christians shouldn't watch HP. So frankly, I can't judge Fantastic Beasts 2 from a personal level; I can only judge by what critics and audiences have said about it.

From that perspective then, I would say that the Wizarding World franchise does need fixing. The critics Rotten Tomatoes score stands at a 37%, and the audience Rotten Tomatoes score isn't much better at a 60% (for comparison, Batman v Superman scored a 63% audience score). And from a financial perspective, Fantastic Beasts 2 only 652 million worldwide. On the surface, that's pretty good, but when compared to the other Wizarding World movies, it's not good at all, considering it's the lowest grossing film in the franchise.

I say this because personally, Warner Bros is my favorite movie studio in Hollywood, because when you take away their big guns (being Batman and Harry Potter), they're still a very successful studio. Warner Bros is the studio that gave us critical darlings and money harvesters like Inception, IT, Dunkirk, and A Star Is Born among others. You can't really say the same about Disney. So my hope is that WB will get the HP franchise back on track and that they can maybe wait a few years before giving us another LEGO movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ONE

Well, I think most audiences didn't like it because there wasn't enough action in it and there was mostly plot development. I think that the next one will be bigger and better than the last two. And Warner Bros delaying it is a good sign too. It means they want to make it better than the last two. Granted I am not defending Fantastic Beasts and the Crimes of Grindelwald. There were definitely parts I did not like (Leta Lestrange's family tree took forever and was so confusing and boring and there wasn't as much action as I had hoped for) but there is potential for the franchise to be so much better than it has so far. They have the acting talent and the writing talent, they just need to make it happen! IMO I think that the worst Wizarding World film was Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. 

Addressing the money issue. It made more than half a billion dollars. That's still a crazy amount of money. It may not be what they were hoping for, but it's a lot of money. I think the reason it didn't make a ton of money was because it didn't have rewatch appeal. I enjoyed it, but I didn't want to pay to see it again. And the people who didn't like it definitely don't want to pay to see it again. That is why the Harry Potter films made so much money, they had rewatch appeal.

I understand what you are saying, but I think that this next film will be so much better. J.K. Rowling put way to much set up in Crimes of Grindelwald. If she messes up the next one, Warner Bros should consider keeping her only as a story person, not the writer.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Yeah, from what I've heard Jude Law and Johnny Depp ad Dumbledore and Grindlewald were the best parts in FB 2, and that the only problem people had with them were that they weren't given more to do (I saw this one article one time arguing that the FB franchise should have made Dumbledore the main character actually). So I do hope WB can get themselves together and make Fantastic Beasts 3 great.

Maybe you're right in saying that JK Rowling should just be a story advisor. Kinda like Zack Snyder with DC films. In my opinion, he has a lot of great ideas, he just doesn't know how to execute them properly. He did serve as an executive producer for Wonder Woman and Aquaman, which were both great and I both loved. So maybe JK Rowling needs to be given a similar position. I don't know. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TWO

So I just fact checked a few things. Fantastic Beasts the Crimes of Grindelwald grossed $652,838,000 Worldwide. It cost around $200,000,000 to make. It is the lowest grossing WIzarding World film. But it still made $450,000,000 at the box office. According to Rotten Tomatoes the critics gave it a %37 (But who cares what the critics have to say? See first post for details.) and audiences gave it a %60 score. 
I think part of the reason it was hit with 'low' money earn is because of Johnny Depp. The allegations against him hurt FB:TCG. I don't think audiences hated the movie. I didn't. It needs some course correction to make the movies great again (pun intended). But it was still a more enjoyable film than some other prequels I've seen (cough...Star Wars Episode II... cough). 
I think we should give Warner Bros a break on FB:TCG. I think after the series is done we will look on it with a better light. 

Posted By A-Non-Mouse

I didn't see First Comment Guy's post. I agree with you compared to the other Wizarding World film's, not great. But I think it will be looked at with a better light once the Fantastic Beasts series is done.
Also, I saw the same article on Screen Rant. Jude Law is my favorite as Dumbledore and he wasn't highlighted enough.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

In order for a film to be profitable, it needs to double (and in some cases triple) its production budget. And that budget doesn't even include money spent on marketing the film, so while FB 2 made a lot of money, it could've (and many would argue should've) made A LOT of money.

Let's use Batman v Superman (another WB movie incidentally) as an example. It made $873,000 worldwide. A lot of money, to be sure, but not $1 billion dollars like what WB was shooting for. Because really, how in the world does a movie that unites Batman and Superman on the big screen for the first time ever NOT cross $1 billion? So financially, FB 2 should've done better.

And still, there's a good chance people won't see FB 2 in a better light in the future. I know MCU fans who still hate The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2 and Thor: The Dark World.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
@First Comment Guy
I understand what you're saying, but FB did double itself. Granted it wasn't what WB was shooting for, but that's still a good profit.

I honestly don't understand the hate around Iron Man 2 and Thor: The Dark World. Both of them were pretty good IMO. The Incredible Hulk was trash though. 

My point about Fantastic Beasts 2 growing better as it gets older is that it may have some really great easter eggs and setups for the next 3 films that we don't know about yet. I think J.K. Rowling had the plot nailed down good. It was just the presentation of it.

Also, I do agree that J.K. Rowling needs to just oversee the story like Zach Snyder, but not making the story.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

@A-Non-Mouse

A film that has lots of easter eggs and sets up other movies but doesn't stand well on its own isn't a good movie in my opinion. That's the beauty of the MCU. They can make standalone separate movies that can be enjoyed by themselves but also factor into the bigger picture. If I have to watch a previous movie to understand what's going on, then that's a problem.

As a moviegoer, I shouldn't have to pay $13 and sit through 2 hours of a mediocre movie just so I can get really great movies in the future. Audiences and consumers deserve the very best. Give them a great movie first, then focus on setting up the next movies.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
@First Comment Guy

I agree completely, which is why the MCU is my favorite film series of all time. I just think that Fantastic Beasts might be appreciated a little more in the future. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I'm not a Harry Potter fan, but as a Warner Brothers fan, I also hope to see FB respected in the future. But that can only happen if they give us great stories and characters in the sequels. Judging by the fact that filming for the third movie has been delayed, I'd say WB are taking FB a step in the right direction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All-in-all I thought it was pretty good, but it kinda dragged after awhile. There were more pop-culture references then the first (meaning that it won't be quite as timeless) and several of the jokes fell flat (e.g the stupid bit with the banana...) 
But it was definitely a really good film, but I would rank the first one and the batman one higher.
-David the Clown 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

SPOILERS FOR THE LEGO MOVIE 2!!

For me, the only problem I had with the movie was the plot twist when we find out that Rex is Emmet's future self. Rex got up by himself, and then used a bunch of time travel Lego sets to time travel back in time to when Emmet was traveling in space. I was like, "Wait a minute! Those are just Legos! They can't actually time travel. They're just toys!"

To fix it, I would have made it where Finn (the boy) is the one who controls Rex and has him time travel back in time. It would have made much more sense, and it's a rather simple way to fix the plot hole.

Other than that, I loved the film.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would not rank the Batman one better. It would come in third after TLM2.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I feel the same way about Rex. His twist was the one problem I had with the movie. He could have been an older toy that was lost and became jaded (like Stinky Pete in Toy Story) or he could have belonged to a neighbor/friend of Finn's who was encouraging him to exclude his sister or something else, but the time travel angle just doesn't make sense and it detracts from the whole story overall in the end.