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‘Lego Batman’ dominates ‘Fifty Shades’ in debut

Feb 14,2017
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LOS ANGELES - Moviegoers could choose violence, sex or family-friendly fare this weekend with three diverse new offerings that all drew healthy numbers at the box office.

“The Lego Batman Movie” took the top spot with $55.6 million, dominating “Fifty Shades Darker,” which attracted $46.8 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The spinoff of 2014’s “Lego Movie” benefited from good reviews and a lack of competition in the family space, which is expected to help it maintain its pace going into the holiday weekend, when kids are out of school.

A whopping 48 percent of opening weekend audiences were under 25. It also bodes well for Warner Bros.’ next Lego spinoff, “The Lego Ninjago Movie,” set for September.

Audiences were less curious to catch up with the exploits of Christian Grey and Ana Steele this time around. The sequel didn’t compare to “Fifty Shades of Grey’s” $85.2 million debut in 2015.

Nick Carpou, Universal Pictures’ president of domestic theatrical distribution, said the first movie debuted in a “perfect storm.” The film adaptation of the best-selling book had gained immense interest and Valentine’s Day fell on a Saturday in 2015, making the movie a date-night destination.

“This is a great start,” Carpou said, noting that the CinemaScore from audiences is stronger for the sequel. “The story will be told through the first part of this week.”

The other R-rated sequel in theaters this weekend, “John Wick: Chapter 2” took third place. With $30 million, It more than doubled the debut of the original. The Keanu Reeves hit man flick became a sleeper hit on the small screen, bolstering interest in the follow-up, which is getting strong reviews.

Rounding out the top five were holdovers “Split,” the psychological thriller that added $9.3 million, and Oscar contender “Hidden Figures” with $8 million, boosting its total to $131.5 million. AP