LOS ANGELES • The Lego Batman Movie, a spin-off of the successful toy tale The Lego Movie (2014), topped the box office on its first weekend, proving Warner Bros can score by combining the superhero and kids franchises.
The animated feature exceeded new instalments based on the best-selling Fifty Shades Of Grey erotic book series and the Keanu Reeves vehicle John Wick.
The Lego Batman Movie, which charmed critics, arrived to about US$55.6 million (S$79 million) in ticket sales, a strong total that still fell 20 per cent behind initial results for its 2014 franchise predecessor, The Lego Movie. Warner Bros spent US$80 million to produce the spin-off, which has collected an extra US$37 million overseas.
A sequel to The Lego Movie is due in 2019 and a spin-off based on the Lego character Ninjago will be out in September.
In second position was Fifty Shades Darker (Universal Pictures), which took in about US$46.7 million, a 45 per cent drop compared with the first three days of Fifty Shades Of Grey in 2015, according to comScore, which compiles box-office data.
Horrendous reviews may have contributed to the decline. The first weekend for Fifty Shades Of Grey also happened to include Valentine's Day, skewing comparisons. Fifty Shades Darker cost about US$55 million to make.
Third place went to John Wick: Chapter Two (Lionsgate), which generated US$30 million - more than double the amount initially achieved by the first one. It cost Lionsgate and partners more than US$40 million to make and received unusually positive reviews for a sequel.
Meanwhile, xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage (Paramount) may have flopped in North America, but it arrived to huge success in China over the weekend, selling about US$61 million in tickets.