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SYFY WIRE The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part

Is this why The LEGO Movie 2 didn’t click at the box office?

By Benjamin Bullard
LEGO Movie 2 via official website 2019

Whatever your age, there’s no denying that LEGOs will always be one of the most enduring and timeless of toys. But maybe every now and then, people just want to take a brief break from the blocks and find something else to play with.

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part opened to a tepid U.S. box office over the weekend, putting up numbers that should go on to surpass the movie’s production budget, yet fall short of the skyscraper-like heights reached by its original and Batman-themed predecessors.

Via Variety, Warner Bros. is questioning whether audience fatigue, coupled with a temporarily waning nostalgia factor, may be to blame for The Second Part’s underwhelming premiere. The movie’s $34.4 million domestic haul (and $52.5 million take worldwide) are coming in at least $15 million beneath what the studio had hoped, and lag nearly 50% behind the $69 million debut of 2014’s The LEGO Movie.

The blocky sequel won the box office weekend, besting the $19 million collected by Taraji P. Henson’s What Men Want by a comfortable margin. But it still faced a persistent batch of competitors both old and new, including third-place opener Cold Pursuit ($10.8 million). 

While LEGO 2’s box office isn’t worthy of a full-scale demolition job, filmmakers are supposedly pegging its underperformance to “diminished enthusiasm for the series in terms of older audiences,” according to Variety's report. That’s another way of saying that there weren’t enough adult ticket sales (and those sweet adult ticket prices that go along with them) to offset all those kid-discounted passes for such a family-friendly movie.

It also can be tough to make sure that audiences know that the voice actors in your CGI blockbuster come from the A-list side of the talent pool: Sure, Emmet’s a star in his own right — but his face probably isn’t as recognizable (or bankable) as Chris Pratt’s. “[F]rom the looks of the latest follow-up, the studio may want to reconsider how much it’s shelling out for talent, especially for an animated movie that doesn’t have the added benefit of being able to put their faces on posters,” Variety notes.

With more animated movies like How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World set to open soon (and Captain Marvel looming in the near distance,) the upcoming President’s Day weekend may give The Second Part its second chance at box office magic. It’ll still have to win over viewers turning out in solid numbers to re-watch a ton of movies that’ve been out a while, like comedy The Upside (which earned $7.2 million in its fifth week), M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass (which took in $6.4 million after four weeks in theaters), and even Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (which earned another $3 million in its ninth week) and Aquaman (which soaked up another $3.3 million in week 8). 

For now, though, there’s plenty of time left to stack up another LEGO flick for your personal movie toy box — The LEGO Movie: The Second Part is still fresh in theaters everywhere.