Weekend Box Office (February 21 - 23, 2014)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Two new Hollywood action offerings were met by yawns from ticket buyers who instead showed up again for the hit animated film The LEGO Movie which became the first toon in nearly four years to spend three consecutive weeks at number one.

The Warner Bros. smash hit dropped only 37% in its third round to an estimated $31.5M and boosted its 17-day cume to a sensational $183.2M. That puts it only one week away from surpassing the $198M of Happy Feet to become the studio's highest-grossing toon ever. The last animated film to top the charts for three straight weekends was Shrek Forever After in the summer of 2010.

Spending has come from families and beyond and its current trajectory puts it on course to reach at least $250M from North America. Overseas this weekend saw an estimated $23.1M in business boosting the overseas take to $92.5M and the global tally to $275.7M with plenty more to come. A sequel is already in development and Warner Bros. has planted its flag on May 26, 2017 for an opening over the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Kevin Costner settled for the silver as his new action thriller 3 Days to Kill debuted to lackluster numbers in second with an estimated $12.3M from 2,872 locations for a $4,283 average. Relativity's release had weak reviews and played to an older mature crowd as expected. The CinemaScore grade was only a B and the pricey Super Bowl spot did not seem to do too much to spark interest with a broad national crowd.

Another effects-heavy action film was rejected by paying moviegoers as the disaster thriller Pompeii debuted in third place with an estimated $10M from 2,658 theaters for a mild $3,762 average including 3D prices. The PG-13 film from Sony attracted negative reviews and audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the pic a mediocre B grade. Pompeii never took off as consumer interest was just never there. Like so many action films from the past year, this one will have to rely heavily on international demand in order to find any kind of success. An overseas bow in 37 territories brought in an additional $22.8M this weekend.

The studio's other big effects-driven action entry RoboCop fell 57% to an estimated $9.4M raising the 12-day cume to just $43.6M. A final domestic gross of about $65M may be in order for the $100M-budgeted production. Thanks to a solid opening weekend in Brazil, the international total reached $100M putting the current global gross at $143.6M. Sony's historical pic The Monuments Men dropped 48% to an estimated $8.1M taking fifth place with a sum to date of $58.1M.

A Kevin Hart double feature followed. The date movie About Last Night tumbled 71% from its opening weekend to an estimated $7.4M giving Sony $38.2M after ten days. Though steep, the decline was understandable since the film opened last week on Friday Valentine's Day which delivered exceptional numbers. The two other romance-themed films opening on that day also fell in the 70% range this weekend. Look for About to finish with roughly $55M. Universal's cop comedy Ride Along declined by 46% to an estimated $4.7M for Hart and Ice Cube. Cume for 2014's top-grossing live-action film stands at $123.2M.

Enjoying the smallest decline for any film in the top ten, Disney's blockbuster toon Frozen slipped only 30% to an estimated $4.4M pushing the cume to $384.1M which was good enough to allow the snow sisters to join the Top 20 list of all-time domestic blockbusters. The megahit now sits at number 19 passing by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 with the $400M mark a possibility. Frozen's global haul soared to $980.4M which means it will be within striking distance of the billion dollar mark on Oscar night when it may potentially take home two awards.

Sophomore love stories rounded out the top ten with Endless Love falling 68% to an estimated $4.3M and Winter's Tale stumbling 71% to an estimated $2.1M. Universal's teen tale has grossed $20.1M and should end with around $30M. Warner Bros. will not be as lucky as its star-driven drama has collected a wimpy $11.2M and will quickly end its run in the neighborhood of $15M.

The animated film The Wind Rises, Hayao Miyazaki's final film and Japan's top-grossing blockbuster of 2013, debuted in the U.S. market this weekend in limited release grossing an estimated $306,000 from 21 locations for a good $14,571 average. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, the Disney release will go wider on Friday into about 450 theaters nationwide.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $94.1M which was up 12% from last year when Identity Thief reclaimed number one with $14M; but down 12% from 2012 when Act of Valor took the top spot with $24.5M.

Compared to projections, both 3 Days to Kill and Pompeii opened close to my respective predictions of $10M and $11M.

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Check the UPDATED box office chart of Oscar nominations and grosses.

Watch the NEW trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy.

Be sure to check back on Monday for final figures and again on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Non-Stop and Son of God open.

# Title Feb 21 - 23 Feb 14 - 16 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 The LEGO Movie $ 31,305,359 $ 49,846,430 -37.2 3,890 3 $ 8,048 $ 183,015,455 Warner Bros.
2 3 Days to Kill 12,242,218 2,872 1 4,263 12,242,218 Relativity
3 Pompeii 10,340,823 2,658 1 3,890 10,340,823 Sony
4 RoboCop 9,805,051 21,681,430 -54.8 3,372 2 2,908 44,005,157 Sony
5 The Monuments Men 7,912,276 15,475,490 -48.9 3,064 3 2,582 57,856,960 Sony
6 About Last Night 7,534,816 25,649,011 -70.6 2,253 2 3,344 38,281,106 Sony
7 Ride Along 4,623,390 8,708,820 -46.9 2,186 6 2,115 123,129,190 Universal
8 Frozen 4,403,797 6,226,580 -29.3 1,891 14 2,329 384,108,132 Disney
9 Endless Love 3,967,520 13,307,125 -70.2 2,896 2 1,370 19,808,775 Universal
10 Winter's Tale 2,173,455 7,297,694 -70.2 2,965 2 733 11,267,356 Warner Bros.
11 Lone Survivor 1,978,380 4,086,435 -51.6 1,516 9 1,305 121,709,286 Universal
12 American Hustle 1,732,098 2,433,738 -28.8 903 11 1,918 144,115,172 Sony
13 That Awkward Moment 1,385,146 3,480,453 -60.2 1,208 4 1,147 24,053,688 Focus
14 The Wolf of Wall Street 1,302,871 1,929,392 -32.5 627 9 2,078 112,821,562 Paramount
15 Philomena 1,196,316 1,524,443 -21.5 1,004 14 1,192 32,720,252 Weinstein Co.
16 The Nut Job 1,066,564 1,838,887 -42.0 1,235 6 864 59,906,067 Open Road
17 Gravity 847,195 1,036,659 -18.3 348 21 2,434 269,275,323 Warner Bros.
18 Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit 824,646 2,232,275 -63.1 807 6 1,022 49,297,324 Paramount
19 12 Years a Slave 522,497 562,764 -7.2 349 19 1,497 49,077,220 Fox Searchlight
20 Nebraska 425,010 540,664 -21.4 210 15 2,024 16,513,883 Paramount
Top 5 $ 71,605,727 $ 125,959,486 -43.2
Top 10 94,308,705 155,759,468 -39.5
Top 20 105,589,428 171,402,443 -38.4
Top 20 vs. 2013 105,589,428 97,679,592 8.1

Last Updated: February 23, 2014 at 4:05PM ET

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