Looking at the Box Office Top Ten this week, you'd think we were still in the 1980s. Four new openers include three remakes of '80s hits, another an adaptation of a major novel from the decade. Another familiar pop culture artifact from the period - Legos - returned as the top film this weekend, as Warner Bros.' animated 3D film extension of the children's toy continues its strong run in its second weekend.
"About Last Night" (Sony) was best among the retreads, reinforcing Kevin Hart's strong recent run. "RoboCop" (also Sony, who scored three of the top four slots this weekend, with another film, "Pompeii" opening next) fared less well, at least in North America, while Universal's "Endless Love," the third remake, lagged behind.
The one clear flop was Warner Bros.' literary best seller adaptation "Winter's Tale," mired in a weak 7th place. All (except for "RoboCop") were aimed for the Friday Valentine's Day crowd. Unusual for most weekends, Friday was by far the top-grossing day of the weekend, as overall totals for the Top Ten came to $156 million, up an impressive $35 million from last year (when Valentine's fell on Thursday), with the year now up 11.5% in its early stages.
1. "The Lego Movie" (Warner Bros.) Week 2 - Last weekend #1
$48,810,000 (-29%) in 3,775 theaters (unchanged); PSA (per screen average): $12,930; Cumulative: $129,113,000
Through its second Sunday of wide release, "The Lego Movie" is just $5 million under what "Frozen" was at that point -- and the latter had two extra days (with a pre-Thanksgiving opening and a holiday boost). That doesn't mean that "Lego" will equal Disney's phenomenal take for its animated smash, but it does confirm that 2014 has its first big hit, with the three-day 29% drop showing that positive audience response after initial wide interest should take this to at least a $250 million domestic haul, which would make it second only to "The Passion of the Christ" among releases from the first two months of any year.
What comes next: After a strong Monday with matinees and nothing new competing for kids until "Mr. Peabody and Sherman" on March 7, this might have a four-week run at #1.
2. About Last Night (Sony) NEW - Cinemascore: A-; Criticwire: B; Metacritic: 62
$27,000,000 in 2,253 theaters; PSA: $11,984; Cumulative: $27,000,000
While it entered the weekend as the co-favorite to open best, this Los Angeles-set remake of the 1986 adaptation of David Mamet's "Sexual Perversity in Chicago" scored an easy win among newcomers despite playing at hundreds fewer theaters than any other opener. This underscores the draw of star Kevin Hart, his second big opening of the year after "Ride Along." Produced for a dirt-cheap $12.5 million by Sony's Screen Gems unit, this one-time TriStar hit, the directorial debut of Edward Zwick starring Rob Lowe and Demi Moore at the height of their appeal, grossed in adjusted totals $87 million back then. Unlike fellow 1980s romance remake "Endless Love," this looks like a second-time hit.
Apart from reinforcing Hart's star status, this is also a breakout effort for director Steve Pink, whose biggest earlier film was "Hot Tub Time Machine" ($50 million total after a $14 million opening), and another low-budget success for producers Will Gluck ("Easy A," "Friends With Benefits") and Will Packer (previously partnered with Hart).
What comes next: The audience reaction (despite the Saturday drop after the big Valentines' opening) will determine how much bigger this gets. This looks like it could have enough draw to become a significant mid-level success.
3. "RoboCop" (Sony) NEW - Cinemascore: B+ ; Criticwire: C+; Metacritic: 52
$21,500,000 in 3,372 theaters; PSA: $6,376; Cumulative: $26,400,000.