'Lego Movie' keeps on box-office perch with $31.5 million weekend take

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[February 24, 2014]  By Ronald Grover and Chris Michaud

LOS ANGELES / NEW YORK (Reuters) "The Lego Movie," an animated film that depicts a world based on the colorful toy blocks, collected $31.5 million to lead U.S. and Canadian box office charts for a third consecutive weekend.

The new Kevin Costner spy thriller "3 Days to Kill" was a distant second after pulling in $12.3 million for the period from Friday to Sunday, according to studio estimates.

The big-budget Roman-era disaster movie "Pompeii" generated ticket sales of $10 million in its first week in theaters to claim the No. 3 spot.

"RoboCop," a remake of the 1987 science fiction film about a part-man, part-cyborg crime fighter, was fourth with sales of $9.4 million, according to studio estimates provided by box office tracking firm Rentrak.

Since opening on February 7, "Lego" has been leading the box office and has taken in a total of $183.2 million domestically, according to Rentrak.

The movie features the voices of Will Arnett and Elizabeth Banks and portrays a world under attack by the evil Lord Business bent on destroying the LEGO universe by gluing it together. The heroes include Batman, a pirate and an astronaut, all made out of the classic children's interlocking blocks.


"Lego is significantly overperforming our wildest expectations," said Jeff Goldstein, executive vice president for theatrical distribution at Warner Brothers, which distributed the movie.

"It's moved way beyond a family-based film to include tweens, young adults and older adults as well. It's just funny," he added, explaining its wild success.

The film has also benefited from little direct competition, though Disney's "Frozen," which opened back in late November, continued to place among the top 10 films at the box office.

The studio has already announced a Lego sequel, which it plans to release for the Memorial Day weekend in 2017.

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"Pompeii," which was made for $100 million, is set in 79 A.D. and stars Kit Harington from the HBO hit show "Game of Thrones." The movie tells the story of a slave turned gladiator who attempts to rescue the woman he loves when Mount Vesuvius erupts. The opening fell short of the forecast by its U.S. distributor Sony of sales between $12 million and $15 million.

"3 Days to Kill," written by French action film director Luc Besson, and starring Costner as an over-the-hill spy trying to connect with his estranged daughter, cost only $28 million to make.

"We are pleased with '3 Days to Kill's solid opening, which was right in line with our expectations for this lower budget action-thriller," the studio said in a statement.

Both films received lackluster reviews, with fewer than 30 percent of the notices collected by the site Rotten Tomatoes being favorable. Both also received B ratings from audiences, according to CinemaScore, which gauges audience reaction.

Rounding out the top five, "Monuments Men," directed by and starring George Clooney and based on the true story of U.S. soldiers who rescued art masterpieces from Nazi thieves, took in $8.1 million.

"The Lego Movie" was distributed by Warner Brothers, a unit of Time Warner. Sony distributed "Pompeii" and "The Monuments Men." Relativity Media distributed "3 Days to Kill."

(Reporting by Ronald Grover and Chris Michaud; editing by Amanda Kwan and Meredith Mazzilli)

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