If you asked the the folks at Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) Warner Brothers how things are going right now, chances are they'd respond "Everything is awesome."
After all, The LEGO Movie just grossed an estimated $69.1 million over the past three days in the U.S., or more than triple the $22.7 million earned by Sony (NYSE:SNE) Pictures' fellow newcomer The Monuments Men. To put that into perspective, The LEGO Movie also secured the second largest February debut of all time, exceeding 2001's Hannibal and 2010's Valentine's Day by roughly $11 million and $13 million, respectively.
However, despite its critically acclaimed wit and broad, family-centric audience, the PG film still couldn't beat the $83.8 million record set a decade ago by The Passion of the Christ.
But that doesn't mean you'll find Time Warner complaining; including early international sales, The LEGO Movie has already earned $87.2 million, exceeding its modest $60 million production budget by 45% and giving it plenty of time to run up the score from here.
On monuments, vampires, and holdovers
We also shouldn't be deceived by the seemingly low number from The Monuments Men, which currently stands at less than a third of Sony's $70 million budget. Remember, The Monuments Men will begin to expand in earnest overseas next weekend, and should benefit from solid international appeal from its star-studded cast including Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman, and director/co-writer George Clooney.
By comparison, Clooney's most recent similar effort with 2011's The Ides of March debuted to $10.5 million en route to an eventual $76 million cume -- nearly half of which came from overseas. If The Monuments Men enjoys similar momentum -- and keeping in mind its decidedly more global theme -- it should have little trouble proving profitable for Sony.
Meanwhile, Ride Along remained a winner for Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) Universal, falling just 21.9% from last week to earn another $9.4 million stateside. Over its first four weeks, the $25 million buddy comedy has already accumulated $107.7 million worldwide.
Next, The Walt Disney Company's (NYSE:DIS) Frozen held up miraculously well in its own eleventh weekend -- thanks in part to a new sing-along version of the $150 million animated hit -- grabbing fourth place with another $6.9 million domestically. Frozen also enjoyed a fresh international boost after hitting theaters in China last weekend, pushing its global total to a staggering $913.8 million.
Finally, Weinstein Company's Vampire Academy fell flat in its debut with only $4.1 million. That put it well behind two holdovers, including $5.5 million from Focus Features' That Awkward Moment and $5.3 million from Comcast's Lone Survivor.
Coming up next
Next Friday is Valentine's Day, which means a number of promising wide new releases, including Winter's Tale, Endless Love, and -- for all you lovebirds who want something a little less gushy -- a reboot of the Robocop franchise.
Even so, The LEGO Movie should still enjoy a captive audience with no significant new family-friendly competition hitting the big screen. I'll be sure to touch base before the weekend to see how they'll all fare, but at this point it looks like there will be nothing to prevent The LEGO Movie from continued domination.
Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.