Normally if you pit liquid hot magma against plastic toys, those poor figurines wouldn't stand a chance. But this is the box office, and at this point it seems clear a certain historic volcano is going down.
If early ticket sales are any indication, Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX) The LEGO Movie should once again crush all newcomers over the next three days, tallying a third-weekend haul in the mid-to-low $30 million range. That'd represent a reasonable drop in the 30% to 40% range from last weekend's stellar $49.8 million cume.
Meanwhile, early figures indicate Constantin Films' $100 million blockbuster hopeful Pompeii could struggle to approach the $15 million mark in its domestic debut. Constantin, for its part, is leaving Pompeii's domestic distribution up to Sony's (NYSE:SNE) TriStar subsidiary.
That's not to say Pompeii couldn't make up ground overseas, where it will simultaneously launch in nearly two dozen countries this weekend.
This fits with the pattern of Director Paul W.S. Anderson's last three films since 2010 -- Resident Evil: Retribution, The Three Musketeers, and Resident Evil: Afterlife -- for which international ticket sales collectively represented more than 80% of the total. Even so, those three films "only" required budgets of $65 million, $70 million, and $60 million, so Pompeii has a significantly higher bar to jump to achieve profitability.
Relativity Media hopes to do better with fellow newcomer 3 Days to Kill, which cost just $28 million to bring to life. Relativity expects the action thriller to bring somewhere between $11 million and $13 million this weekend -- on par with Producer Luc Besson's previous effort in 2008's Transporter 3, which ultimately grossed $109 million worldwide.
Don't count out the holdovers
Screen Gems is also hoping to run up the score with its $12 million romantic comedy About Last Night, which secured second place last weekend with $25.6 million. Assuming a 50% to 60% second-week plunge to between $10 million and $13 million -- it won't have last weekend's Valentine's Day viewers to help out -- About Last Night could still make it a close race for second.
Finally, Sony Pictures' pair of holdovers in RoboCop and The Monuments Men could also make things interesting. They took in respective totals last weekend of $21.7 million and $15.5 million, and neither should suffer as much without Valentine's Day movie-goers' aid. What's more, if The Monuments Men maintains its impressive box office legs this weekend, it could mean both it and RoboCop grossing in the $10 million range over the next three days.