Film Box Office

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows the characters Emmet, left, and Rex Dangervest, center, both voiced by Chris Pratt, in a scene from “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.”

BOX OFFICE

‘The Lego Movie 2’ opens No. 1 but everything is not awesome

NEW YORK

“The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” was easily the top ticket-seller in theaters over the weekend, but the film’s $35 million opening failed to stack up to its expected haul, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The animated sequel had been forecast to draw around $50 million. Instead, it debuted with half the $69 million the 2014 original did, despite good reviews and an A-minus CinemaScore.

With about a $100 million budget, Warner Bros. “The Lego Movie 2” had been pegged as a dependable, star-studded franchise release sure to kick-start a moribund box office. But after record ticket sales last year, Hollywood’s 2019 has gotten off to such a bad beginning that the movie’s tagline of “Everything is not awesome” is looking more like accurate industry analysis.

Every weekend this year has been down from the same weekend a year ago. That’s a streak sure to continue. Next weekend, the new releases include “Happy Death Day 2U” and “Alita: Battle Angel.” What opened the same weekend last year? “Black Panther.”

Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Will Ferrell and others reprise their voice roles in “The Lego Movie 2,” while Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph join the cast. Mike Mitchell directs the movie written by original writer-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller.

Oversaturation could be to blame. Since the 2014 original, which grossed $469 million worldwide, Warner Bros. released two spinoffs: “The Lego Batman Movie” in 2017 and “The Lego Ninjago Movie” later the same year.

Distribution executives for Warner Bros. declined to comment on the weekend’s results.

Until now, 2019’s sluggish box office was partly blamed on lack of quality releases, with only a handful of highly promoted films from major studios. This weekend saw a relatively robust slate of releases, including Taraji P. Henson’s “What Men Want” and the Liam Neeson thriller “Cold Pursuit.” Both did solid if not spectacular business.

Paramount’s “What Men Want,” a loose remake of the 2000 Mel Gibson comedy, debuted with $19 million. Henson plays a sports agent with the ability to hear men’s thoughts in Adam Shankman’s film, a kind of gender flip from the original. The film got poor reviews (47 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), but audiences gave it an A-minus CinemaScore.

Lionsgate’s “Cold Pursuit” debuted with $10.8 million, a result in line with expectations despite the controversy that surrounded its star in the week leading up to release. Neeson drew heavy criticism after he acknowledged in an interview published last Monday that he wanted to kill a random black person when a close friend told him she had been raped by a black man.

Neeson later appeared on “Good Morning America” to say he’s not a racist. Organizers for the New York premiere of “Cold Pursuit” canceled the film’s red carpet.

Orion Pictures’ horror thriller “The Prodigy” also debuted, with $6 million.

BAFTA AWARDS

‘The Favourite,’ ‘Roma’ win big at British Academy Awards

LONDON

Tragicomic royal drama “The Favourite” and Mexican family memoir “Roma” split the honors with multiple wins each at Sunday’s British Academy Film Awards — victories that suggest a wind of change may be blowing through the movie industry.

“The Favourite” won seven trophies including best British film and best actress for OIivia Colman, who plays Britain’s 18th century Queen Anne in the female-centric drama.

Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma,” which centers on the nanny to a middle-class Mexico City family, took prizes for best picture, director, cinematography and foreign-language film.

Winners relished the symbolism of their victories.

“Thank you for celebrating our female-dominated movie about women in power,” said “The Favourite” writer Deborah Davis, who won the original screenplay award alongside co-writer Tony McNamara.

Cuaron thanked the film’s backer, Netflix, for having the courage to support “a black and white film about a domestic worker” that is not in English.

He said the extent to which the film has been embraced “in an age where fear and anger are proposed to divide us means the world to me.”

Director Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Favourite” snapped up the outstanding British film and screenplay awards as well as prizes for its opulent production design, its extravagant costumes, larger-than-life hair and makeup and the performances of Colman and supporting actress Rachel Weisz.

“This is for all three of us,” Colman said, speaking of Weisz and the film’s other star, Emma Stone. “It’s got my name on it but we can scratch on some other ones.”

The best-actor trophy went to Rami Malek for his electric turn as Queen front man Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Mahershala Ali was named best supporting actor as a concert pianist touring the 1960s Deep South in “Green Book.”

Other winners included Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” for best adapted screenplay and the Bradley Cooper-directed “A Star is Born” for music.

The awards, known as BAFTAs, will be scoured for clues on who might triumph at Hollywood’s Academy Awards on Feb. 24. “Roma” and “The Favourite” each have 10 Oscar nominations.

— Associated Press

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