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Friday Box Office: 'Lego' Saves the Day, as Audiences Aren't Taken With '3 Days to Kill' or 'Pompeii'

Box Office
by Tom Brueggemann
February 22, 2014 1:32 PM
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'Pompeii'
'Pompeii'
"The Lego Movie" (Warner Bros.) was an easy #1 yesterday, headed for a third straight week in the top position. This will be the second time in this still-early year that a film led for three straight weeks ("Ride Along" was the first). It's a relatively rare achievement -- neither of 2013's top two films managed more than two weeks ("Gravity" and "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," the latter impressively over Christmas, were the only ones last year). With $7,340,000 for the day, "The Lego Movie" should already reach $175 million by the end of the weekend.
 
Numbers 2 and 3 are new films with spotty openings. The Kevin Costner-starrer "3 Days to Kill" (Relativity) brought in $4 million while Sony's "Pompeii" did even less with $3.4 million. Both films, like many studio releases these days, are targeted to international audiences. "Kill" comes from French producer Luc Besson's lucrative action factory (a la the wildly successful "Taken" series) and with a $28 million cost should do fine worldwide. At $100 million, "Pompeii" is a much bigger risk, but not primarily Sony's, the U.S. distributor of this German coproduction. One of the challenges for American theaters at the moment is how many studio release schedules are crammed with movies made with international audiences in mind.
 
Despite the relative weakness of the two new films, total Top 10 receipts came to about $26 million, slightly up from last year (although less of an increase than most previous weeks). This total was a huge drop from last Friday, which was boosted by Valentine's Day. "Robocop" (Sony) came in #4, the best among last week's four openers (and the only non-romance among them) at $2.6 million. This is playing much better overseas, as expected. #5, "About Last Night" (Sony), showed a huge drop to $2.3 million (it scored $12.9 million on its opening day as the love story of choice last week). "Monuments Men" at #6 (once again Sony has four of the top six films), took in another $2,250,000.
 
The rest of the top 10 all grossed from $1.5 million down to $670,000. The second Friday of Universal's "Endless Love" came in #7, with "Ride Along" (Universal) and "Frozen" (Buena Vista) following, and "Winter's Tale" (Warner Bros.) lagging at $670,000. Last place for the weekend might be challenged by "Lone Survivor" (Universal) when the full weekend is in.
 
We're in the second-to-last weekend before the Academy Awards, but Oscar contenders are conspicuously absent. All the contenders seem to have played out (led by "12 Years a Slave," which only managed $160,000 in 349 theaters yesterday; even long-time hit "Gravity," which comes out on DVD/Blu-Ray next week, took in more). Most of the nominees already have achieved success, particularly with international figures included ("Her" and "Nebraska" still have some way to go, as the latter hits home video next week).
 
Two late-arriving Oscar contenders opened yesterday. Foreign Language contender "Omar" hasn't reported yet, but the English-language version of Buena Vista's Animated Feature nominee "The Wind Rises" from master Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki (which qualified in its original Japanese, with subtitles) opened in 21 theaters ahead of its wider release next weekend to a decent $82,140.

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