With solid reviews and the backing of a franchise flagship that grossed $457.7 million on its own, it was little surprise that The Lego Batman Movie was able to best Fifty Shades Darker on Valentine’s Day weekend.
Despite its terrible reviews, however, it was Fifty Shades that has dominated the box office since. And with this weekend’s new movies not passing critical muster, could the fanfic-turned-novel-turned-movie franchise find itself suddenly at No. 1 come Sunday?
It’s a real possibility.
Lego Batman‘s final box office tally for last weekend was just a tad over $53 million compared to $46.6 million from Fifty Shades. Yet, for the week that followed, Fifty Shades posted a winning streak that has actually pushed its total domestic take ahead of Lego Batman going into this weekend.
Fifty Shades earned $18.7 million through the first three days of the week, helped a lot by an $11 million Valentine’s Day. It finished at the top of the box office all three days while Lego Batman limped in with about half that at $9.6 million.
In fact on Wednesday, according to The Numbers, Lego Batman finished third with $1.8 million, compared to $2.3 million from John Wick: Chapter 2 and $3.8 million from Fifty Shades.
Through Wednesday, Fifty Shades now has earned $65.3 million, compared to $62.6 million from Lego Batman.
And this weekend’s new film entries are not looking like keepers. Of the three films making their debut, A Cure For Wellness from director Gore Verbinski actually has the best reviews, with 42 percent of critics surveyed by Rotten Tomatoes recommending the film. The Great Wall with Matt Damon isn’t too far behind, but impressed just 37 percent of the critics surveyed, while Fist Fight has an approval rating of only 29 percent.
Yet, all of them are trending better with critics than Fifty Shades, which was liked by just 9 percent of critics – one of the worst critical outings so far this year next to the horror revival of Rings.
Despite that, Fifty Shades has much better name recognition, and unless Lego Batman turns things around for the weekend, it could very well leap-frog the family movie and take over the top spot at the box office.
How is that possible? Especially with Lego Batman scoring a 91 percent approval rating from critics?
Reviewers might not like Fifty Shades, but those who bought tickets to see it did. In fact, 60 percent of moviegoers who shared their opinion on the film with Rotten Tomatoes would recommend it to friends. That’s 60 percent of more than 17,500 people surveyed.
By comparison, Lego Batman is getting an 87 percent positive word-of-mouth from its watchers. But then again, family movies tend to struggle during the week when there’s school and other activities going on for the younger crowd. So it’s also possible families will be back in force this weekend, possibly helping to keep Lego Batman on top.
But’s not leave John Wick out of the picture. The Keanu Reeves sequel impressed not just critics but moviegoers as well. In fact, of the more than 28,000 ticket buyers Rotten Tomatoes surveyed, 92 percent of them liked the movie. Take that … just about everyone else with a movie out there.
Last year at this time, Deadpool finished in first place for the second week in a row, earning almost five times that of the top-ranking new release that weekend, Risen. It’s $56.5 million second-week haul led to the top five movies grossing $97.8 million that weekend.
However, box office observers shouldn’t expect that again. Although it could be close.
We’ll get a much better idea where everything stands Saturday afternoon when Friday’s numbers are released. Will Lego Batman stay supreme, or could Fifty Shades be readying a safe word (we really have no idea what that means) and slip ahead?
We’re about to find out.
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