What else can you say about The Lego Movie? In three weeks the film has made over $180 million, cemented itself as a box office force, and its sequel has already staked its claim in the 2017 summer box office wars. So it should come as no surprise that Lego easily topped the charts again this weekend, beating two newcomers who got roughed up by critics and audience alike.

(Credit: WB)

Warner Brothers (a subsidiary of Time Warner (NYSE:TWX))

The line

The Lego Movie

Finish: 1st place / Est. budget: $60 million / 3-day estimated total: $31.4 million/ Est. total to date: $183 million

Winter's Tale

Finish: 7th place / Est. budget: $75 million / 3-day estimated total: $2.1 million/ Est. total to date: $11.2 million

The analysis

It was a three-peat for The Lego Movie, which again won the weekend in impressive fashion. The film has shown strong legs with all demos and in many cases garnered repeat attendance. Warner Brothers this week also carved out May 26, 2017, as the official date for the film's sequel. The move had long been expected as the film should blow past the $200 million mark by early March at the latest. Shifting the sequel's timeframe to summer is also a smart move as it will look to capitalize on the Memorial Day weekend crowd and the fact many kids will be out of school.

The future

The continued success of Lego has put Warner Brothers in the driver's seat at the box office, but fellow 2014 success story Universal is about to come roaring back with Liam Neeson's Non-Stop. The action thriller will likely overtake Lego at the box office next week, but Warner Brothers will be hot on its trail as its 300 sequel will storm into theaters the first week of March. Expect these two powerhouse studios to be dueling for top position the next few weeks.


The line

3 Days to Kill

Finish: 2nd place / Est. budget: $28 million / 3-day estimated total: $12.3 million

The analysis

3 Day to Kill was never going to set the box office on fire, but with a name like Kevin Costner attached it probably should have done a little better. The 3 Days/Pompeii matchup was at one point supposed to be very exciting as each had aspects that could have made them weekend winners. However, at some point that buzz factor went away and both pictures crashed.

In 3 Days' case, it was only made on a $28 million production budget, so likely it will make its money back in the long run and it did place a respectable second over the weekend. Granted, there was zero cross-over between it and Lego so you can't argue the three-time winning film had an impact on either film's results. Sometime movies just don't catch on.

The future

Relativity isn't one of the big studios and as such doesn't have a lot of films on its slate, so it's important the studio make every release count. 3 Days was one of its bigger releases with an A-list name attached. The studio's next release, Brick Mansions, is slated for April and carries with it the dubious distinction of being one of actor Paul Walker's last films. Whether or not that affects its box office performance remains to be seen, but it will still be a factor. Past that the studio has three movies slated for 2014, but none of which will automatically jump out at audiences based just on cast recognition.


The line


Finish: 3rd place / Est. budget: $80 million / 3-day estimated total: $10.3 million


Finish: 4th place / Est. budget: $100 million / 3-day estimated total: $9.6 million/ Est. total to date: $43.8 million

The Monuments Men

Finish: 5th place / Est. budget: $70 million / 3-day estimated total: $7.9 million/ Est. total to date: $58 million

About Last Night

Finish: 6th place / Est. budget: $13 million / 3-day estimated total: $7.3 million/ Est. total to date: $38 million

The analysis

Your eyes are not deceiving you ... Sony had four films in the box office race this weekend. Granted they were all mostly from different divisions inside the company, but they still are four different entries. Ironically, the foursome also finished third through sixth in sequence. The one most of note was Pompeii, which really got roughed up and slipped from second to third behind 3 Days to Kill. On paper this was a solid concept with a good cast, but audiences didn't seem to agree once it unspooled in theaters.

The future

All in all Sony had a good month with About Last Night being a modest hit and The Monuments Men delivering the adult crowd. Even RoboCop, which got knocked around by the weather (and critics) powered back to some extent thanks to the international market, so only Pompeii really under-performed at a higher level.

Next up for the studio is the profitable summer season, where it has a ton of movies on its roster including three highly anticipated sequels. Moviegoers also shouldn't count out its April release Heaven Is for Real, which is based on a true story and comes complete with a trailer that definitely tugs at the heartstrings.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.