For those who saw Fifty Shades Darker‘s box office win on Friday as a sign that the erotic thriller might take the weekend over The LEGO Batman Movie, it’s helpful to remember this credo: cartoons rule over all. In fact, most big studios could reappropriate Wu-Tang Clan’s famed “C.R.E.A.M.” acrostic and just replace cash with cartoons. And when the cartoon also happens to be tied in with DC Comics, there’s really no winning.
Indeed, while Fifty Shades Darker is looking at a healthy $46.8 millon opener, down from Fifty Shades of Grey‘s $80+ million, The Lego Batman Movie is clearly coming home with the prize with an impressive $55 million opening weekend. The fact that Fifty Shades Darker beat out the animated titan on Friday has a lot to do with when people see movies. Most couples, married or not, tend to take Friday night as a date night and that’s not just a stereotype that sitcoms and romantic comedies worldwide invented. This goes for parents too. For them, The LEGO Batman Movie is an excursion for Saturday or Sunday afternoon while Fifty Shades Darker is about a close as a just-add-popcorn date movie as I’ve seen.
Beyond this back-and-forth, this was also the first blockbuster weekend for 2017, with three big openers that all came in with admirable takes for the weekend. While Fifty Shades Darker and The LEGO Batman Movie landed a little under their most ambitious expectations, John Wick: Chapter 2 performed like a thoroughbred, taking in an absolutely smashing $30 million on its opening weekend. That’s more than double what John Wick made on it’s opening weekend and this all but confirm that we will see at least two more John Wick movies.
What will be even more interesting is seeing how John Wick: Chapter Two and the other two headliners will match up against the trio of originals opening next weekend. My inkling is that Fist Fight will probably give The LEGO Batman Movie some serious competition but The Great Wall and A Cure for Wellness could really go either way. The latter seems weird enough to get asses in seats but the former is a serious wild card in my mind. There’s a chance that, with early tracking showing negative critical reception to The Great Wall and John Wick: Chapter 2‘s boatload of praise, that Keanu Reeves‘ mystical assassin could show some legs with next weekend. As always, we shall see.