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The LEGO Movie opens to $69.1 million in US to set up franchise

The LEGO Movie

Story by Jack Foley

THE LEGO Movie has opened at the top of the US box office with a whopping $69.1 million to kick-start a new franchise.

The debut marks the second biggest opening of all time for the month of February in America – only Mel Gibson’s The Passion Of The Christ has fared better with $83.8 million in late February 2004.

Boasting a voice cast led by Chris Pratt and also featuring Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Liam Neeson and Morgan Freeman, The LEGO Movie follows an ordinary mini-figure named Emmet as he is mistaken for a hero who can save the Lego universe and is called upon to defeat the tyrant Lord Business.

It is directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the duo who previously brought Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street to the big screen. They are currently working on the sequel to that latter film, 22 Jump Street.

In a healthy second place came George Clooney’s World War II drama The Monuments Men, which grossed $22.7 million despite average reviews.

The figures mark the biggest opening for a film Clooney has directed and underlines his appeal among adults. The $70 million comedy-drama also stars Clooney opposite Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville and Cate Blanchett and follows a ragtag group of Allied museum directors, artists, architects, curators and art historians as they attempt to save important works of art before they are destroyed by the Nazis.

It is based on the non-fiction book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History.

The weekend’s third new release, Vampire Academy, flopped with only $4.1 million and a seventh place debut.

Elsewhere in the US top five buddy cop comedy Ride Along came third in its fourth weekend with $9.4 million (thereby zooming past the $100 million mark), while Disney’s animated juggernaut Frozen came fourth with $6.9 million.

In the US Frozen has now taken $368.8 million, passing Despicable Me 2, while globally it has passed the $900 million mark to become the fourth highest grossing animated title of all time, not counting re-issues.

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