Three big follow-up films storm the weekend box office looking to match their predecessors. However, a blizzard in the Northeast may keep some moviegoers from the multiplex. Combining two hugely popular brands, The LEGO Batman Movie [LBATM] should easily take first place. The animated caped crusader voiced by Will Arnett [WARNE] first appeared in The LEGO Movie, which debuted exactly 3 years ago at $69.0 million, while the last 3 live-action films featuring the Dark Knight has opened around $160 million. The PG-rated spin-off features Ralph Fiennes [RFIEN] as Alfred, Michael Cera [MCERA] as Robin and a host of other DC comic characters. Opening in 4088 theaters, The LEGO Batman Movie may stack up $66.0 million.
Two years ago, Fifty Shades of Grey set a new February opening weekend record with $85.2 million, aided by Valentine’s Day on that Saturday. Unfortunately for Fifty Shades Darker [50SH2], the 14th falls on Tuesday this year. Dakota Johnson [DJOHN] and Jamie Dornan [JDORN] continue their R-rated S&M romance in the sequel adapted on the best-selling book series. The first film also had the curiosity factor that attracted moviegoers beyond the book’s fanbase. Many of those will likely wait for the video the second time around. Playing in 3710 theaters, Fifty Shades Darker could whip up $46.0 million.
Keanu Reeves [KREEV] is back in the R-rated shooter John Wick: Chapter 2 [WICK2]. The first John Wick opened at $14.4 million, but enjoyed long legs for its genre and success in the ancillary markets. The sequel reunites Reeves with The Matrix co-star Laurence Fishburne [LFISH] and has many familiar faces playing other assassins. John Wick: Chapter 2 could tally $24.0 million from 3113 locations.
Split [SPLIT] crossed the $100 million milestone this week and looks to add another $8.0 million during its fourth weekend.
Rings [RING3] failed to revive the horror series, and may have killed off another in the Friday the 13th reboot. The sequel looks to tumble 65% to $4.5 million.
That’s the whisper on the virtual trading floor.
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