Box Office: ‘LEGO Batman Movie’ Nabs Super $15M Friday – Forbes

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros.

Everything is still pretty darn awesome for Warner Bros.’ LEGO universe. The LEGO Batman Movie, a spin-off from The LEGO Movie may not have been the top movie on Friday, but it is still probably going to win the weekend. The $80 million production earned $15 million yesterday, which is a relatively insignificant 12% drop from the $17m opening day of The LEGO Movie on this very weekend in 2014. That includes $1.2m in IMAX alone.

While this is technically a spin-off and not a straight sequel, the film is unquestionably capitalizing on the goodwill endeared by The LEGO Movie and that movie’s scene-stealing incarnation of The Dark Knight. If the film plays exactly like THE LEGO Movie, we’re looking at a boffo $60 million debut weekend. We can assume a little frontloading because it’s more of a known entity and a comic book superhero movie (as well as being a kid-targeted animated feature). Even a 3.5x gets The LEGO Batman Movie to $53m for the weekend. A 3.75x multiplier takes it to $56.25m.

So yeah, it looks like this movie just be more successful than Batman: Mask of the Phantasm ($1.18 million debut/$5.6m domestic total in 1993). This is one of those cases where studio predictions were relatively accurate. That’s not in itself odd, but it’s generally the job of a studio to lower expectations so that an exceptional performance doesn’t come off as disappointing thanks to hyperbolic third-party projections. Honestly, I expected something closer to The LEGO Movie’s $69m debut weekend, but that’s on me and not on the film.

We’re still looking at an over/under $55m debut for an $80m animated film. And if it turns out that the nasty weather had a detrimental effect on this weekend’s new releases, then I imagine we’ll see that reflected in the post-debut legs going forward.

This is still a big win for Time Warner Inc. and friends. The film earned rave reviews, and I can’t imagine it not having excellent word-of-mouth during its run since it’s a lot of fun and entirely kid-friendly. My son wants to see it again, and he never wants to see movies twice during their theatrical run. And since next weekend in a holiday, it’s going to parlay this weekend into a comparatively strong hold. This isn’t Watchmen but rather Monsters vs. Aliens.

Moreover, while The LEGO Movie earned a superb $257.7 million domestic back in 2014, it earned a merely very good $211.4m overseas for a $469.1m worldwide cume. That was still huge, especially on a $60m budget. But I will be curious to see if this spin-off can match/exceed that overseas total thanks to the addition of the Dark Knight, just as adding the Caped Crusader to the Man of Steel sequel helped Dawn of Justice earn $165m more overseas (and $40m more domestic) than that initial Superman movie.

Speaking of which, in a skewed way, the complicated reception to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad arguably helped this one just a little in terms of being a counterpoint to those films’ grimdark carnage. Conversely, the fact that the DC Comics universe exists in so many forms means it’s okay that the DC Films offerings are (thus far) somewhat grim and somber deconstructionist affairs. One of the core ideas of The LEGO Batman Movie is that Batman as a character can exist in a multitude of forms with no real wrong interpretation for the iconic character.

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