jamuna entertainment desk: The Lego Batman Movie and Fifty Shades Darker are in a close contest at the Friday box office, according to early returns.
Projections show both films grossing $17 million-$20 million for the day but the weekend crown will ultimately go to Lego Batman, from Warner Bros. The animated film will pass up Fifty shades sometime on Saturday, thanks to families, and finish Sunday with $65 million-$70 million from 4, 088 theaters.
Universal’s Fifty Shades sequel is pacing well behind Fifty Shades of Grey. It is expected to earn $40 million-$44 million from 3, 710 theaters for the weekend, less than half of the $85 million debut of the first film on the same weekend two years ago. At the time E.L. James book trilogy dubbed “mommy porn” was a global sensation, with groups of woman going to the theater together.
ifty Shades Darker was always expected to be front-loaded, meaning a strong Friday. The sequel reunites Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as the characters Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, respectively.
Bullish box-office observers believe both Lego Batman and Fifty Shades could come in higher, making for a happy pre-Valentine's Day weekend. And Keanu Reeves' action sequel John Wickis also performing nicely so far.
In Lego Batman, directed by Chris McKay, Will Arnett voices the role of the tiny Caped Crusader as the superhero tries to find himself and save Gotham City from a hostile takeover by The Joker (Zach Galifianakis). The voice cast also includes Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson and Ralph Fiennes. In February 2014, The Lego Movie opened to $69.1 million.
From Lionsgate, John Wick: Chapter 2 is projected to open to $24 million or more from 3,113 theaters (some think it could approach $30 million).
John Wick stars Reeves opposite Common, Laurence Fishburne, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ruby Rose, John Leguizamo and Ian McShane.