“The LEGO Movie 2” Delivers a Not Super Cool Opening


February 8-10, 2019

(estimates from



The LEGO Movie 2  $34.4 million
What Men Want $19.0 million
Cold Pursuit $10.8 million
The Upside  $7.2 million
Glass  $6.4 million


Everything is not awesome. Not for Warner Bros. and potentially not for most other studios. The LEGO Movie 2, the sequel to a movie loved by everyone except the Oscars, debuted with an estimated $34.4 million. That's less than half the original's opening weekend. Was it the two underwhelming spin-offs from 2017? Was it the five-year wait? Was it the movie's target audience aging out? Whatever the case, there probably won't be any additional LEGO movies for a while, if ever. That's a real shame, since all four films exude a level of cleverness absent from just about every other major animation studio. Does this portend doom for the rest of 2019? Disney is still going to rule over all, but I think they're in for a rude awakening when Captain Marvel looks more like the early days of the MCU and less like the recent years. And three live-action remakes of their animated classics is going to test the limits of audience loyalty. Of course, I could be wrong and this could just be a down winter. But don't be surprised if a lot more big ticket movies end up making less than expected.

What Men Want proved a smart bet. The $20 million quasi-remake earned almost its entire budget back in one weekend, and proved Proud Mary was an anomaly for star Taraji P. Henson. If the end is nigh on bigger films, then studios would be smart to go back to modestly budgeted comedies and dramas for adults. I've only been saying this for years, but maybe this will be what causes them to wake up. After all, The Upside (No. 4) will end up making $100 million domestically, something no one saw coming.

Cold Pursuit debuted at No. 3 with an estimated $10.8 million. That's in line with the diminishing returns for his old man action hero movies. There's no telling if his recent comments had any effect on the film's opening at all. Glass dropped all the way from first place to fifth. It still has yet to cross $100 million, but will become the first film of 2019 to reach that mark in the next few days.

Outside the top 5:

  • This Weekend's Indie Champ: Everybody Knows, the first English-language film from Asghar Farhadi. He's already won two Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film, which helped this effort average $18,750 on its four screens.
  • The Prodigy is another rough start for the recently rebooted Orion Pictures. The horror flick only made $6 million in its opening weekend. Yet it's already earned back its budget and will probably make a killing in streaming and on-demand.
  • Miss Bala is going to have a tough time earning back its modest $15 budget. The film dropped 60 percent to land in 10th place.

Next week:

Every movie is going for those teen dollars. Every major release is rated PG-13, with two films opening Wednesday and Alita: Battle Angel opening on Valentine's Day. I don't think any of these will do gangbusters, but I think Happy Death Day 2U will be the surprise winner, with around $30 million for the five-day opening. The LEGO Movie 2 will be in second, with Isn't It Romantic earning $18 million for the five days, and Alita only taking in $16 million over four days.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.