Box Office: ‘The LEGO Movie’ Leads Again, But Don’t Count Out ‘RoboCop’ Yet

RoboCop is getting crushed by The LEGO Movie, Image sources: Sony, Time Warner.

Perhaps if RoboCop had been portrayed using toy figurines, it would've been able to compete with The LEGO Movie in the U.S. this weekend.

Alas, the $100 million PG-13 reboot from Sony (NYSE: SNE  ) Pictures and MGM grossed just $7 million on Valentine's Day. As a result, most early estimates peg RoboCop's three-day weekend debut total in the mid-to-high teen range.

But don't shed any tears for Sony Pictures; the studio still managed to score an estimated $13 million from About Last Night, another '80s remake that only cost $12.5 million to produce.

Better yet, that put About Last Night barely a sliver behind the Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX  ) The LEGO Movie, which held the lead after it accumulated another $13.03 million Friday.

Meanwhile, Comcast  (NASDAQ: CMCSA  ) Universal secured third place with $7.3 million from its remake of 1981's Endless Love, and Sony's $70 million holdover The Monuments Men showed decent legs with $5 million for fifth place. That brings the historical film's domestic-only total to $33.7 million so far.

Finally, Time Warner's Winter's Tale flopped with only $3.6 million, just barely edging out the $3.4 million earned by Comcast's Ride Along in its own fifth Friday. Ride Along has grossed $114.2 million to date, or more than quadruple its $25 million budget.

RoboCop's not really failing...

But while Winter's Tale earned roughly half RoboCop's Friday tally, it also cost less than half as much to produce at $46 million. 

However, there are a number of reasons that doesn't make RoboCop an automatic loser.

Last year's Valentine's Day weekend champ, for example, was A Good Day to Die Hard, which "only" earned $7.2 million during its first Friday en route to a $24.8 million debut weekend haul. Considering both action films earned a respectable 'B+' CinemaScore from polled audiences, don't be surprised if RoboCop manages to move up a spot come Monday.

And if you're concerned about RoboCop's lofty $100 million budget, note international audiences have already contributed $29 million since its Jan. 30 launch, the bulk of which arrived over the past week as the film began expanding in earnest to more countries.

What's more, RoboCop's slow domestic start shouldn't be a big surprise considering it easily represents director Jose Padilha's most significant shot at the domestic box office to date. Padilha's most recent effort with Elite Squad: The Enemy Within, for example, was only released in seven theaters stateside back in 2011. As a result, the film gathered nearly all its $63 million box office total overseas.

...but The LEGO Movie should still win

Don't get me wrong; I still think there's no way RoboCop will beat The LEGO Movie this weekend.

In fact, I'm counting on a toy-infused win based on the solid late-weekend momentum shown by The LEGO Movie in its debut. If we assume a similar Friday weekend multiple this time, LEGO's second weekend total could approach $53 million -- a feat I'm convinced About Last Night will have trouble matching over the next two days without all those Valentine's Day viewers on its side.

I'll be sure to touch base Monday to see how the final numbers turn out. But in the meantime, just sit back and enjoy the show.

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Steve Symington

Technology and consumer goods specialist for the Fool. Steve looks for responsible businesses which positively shape our lives. Then, he invests accordingly. Enjoy his work? Connect with him on Twitter & Facebook so you don't miss a thing.

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