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Box Office Brasserie:
Movie News for Movie Lovers

There’s a whole lotta lovin’ going on right now at the box office, most of that arriving courtesy of the legion of Lego fans that helped “The Lego Movie” score a whopping $69 million in its debut last weekend—the second-best February debut of all-time after Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ.”

The cinematic love fest should continue from Valentine’s Day to President’s Day as Hollywood’s cupid shoots out four new flicks into theaters aiming straight at the heart of sappy and trigger-happy moviegoers.

And while “Robocop,” “A Winter’s Tale,” “About Last Night,” and “Endless Love” all should find significant takers, none of them have the love connection to all demographics that  “The Lego Movie” has. Warner’s newest franchise should stack up $50+M over the long holiday and easily extend its run at #1.

It should be noted that three of the four new flicks aren’t really new at all, but are actually 80’s reboots, with “Winter’s Tale” being the only original flick of the bunch.  While traditional wisdom might say that would work in its favor, let’s remember that this 21st century Hollywood and everything worth doing has apparently already been done, redone, or is in turn-around, awaiting to be done yet again.

Not surprisingly, Colin Farrell’s romantic fantasy film is actually tracking well behind all the newbies and looks to continue his box office curse, with Warner’s PG-13 yarn pulling in $13M in nearly 3,000 venues. For a film that cost over $40M, that’s a lesson in tough love.

Interestingly, “Winter’s Tale” is the directorial debut of Akiva Goldsman, the screenwriter of many huge Hollywood hits, including “A Beautiful Mind,” “The Da Vinci Code,” “I Am Legend,” and “I, Robot.” Full disclosure though: He also penned “Lost in Space” and “Batman & Robin” and is set to write the “Divergent” sequels, “Insurgent” and “Allegiant.”

Back in 2003, Warner’s tried remaking another 80s classic Patrick Dempsey’s “Can’t Buy Me Love” with a black cast and re-titling it “Love Don’t Cost a Thing.” That film didn’t do much business, but then again, Nick Cannon never achieved the level of bankability that Kevin Hart now has in spades.

Expect  “About Last Night” to continue Hart’s winning streak and take the runner-up spot with over $25M this weekend and possibly closing in on $30M through Monday. Not too shabby for an R-rated flick that cost just $12.5 million.

While Hart may be too much for “Robocop” to handle, last year’s terrible “A Good Day to Die Hard” still hit #1 with $24M, so we know most bro-mances tend to gravitate towards the love of all things bloody and bullet-ridden. Expect $22M in 3,300+ sites, even though Sony’s reboot got off to a very slow start on Wednesday with just $2.8M. Blame the storms if you want, I just think most people didn’t realize it opened early.

An odd thing about 1987’s “Robocop” is that Paul Verhoeven’s flick was set in 2014, while the newest plays out in 2028. I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that in 14 years we still won’t have cyborg cops patrolling the streets and dunkin’ donuts. Man, the future really is gonna suck, isn’t it? At  least we know one thing we’ll have by then–another “Robocop” flick. Well, maybe.

The original cost just $13M, which even adjusted for inflation is a bargain. This one came in at $100M, however overseas audiences are much more engaged, as it rolled out internationally first and has already scored $28M.

After Sony’s expensive “Total Recall” reboot floundered in 2012, I’m pretty sure the studio will shy away from $100M 80s sci-fi reboots. Although, it would be nice to see them dust off “The Running Man” or give “Dune” a another shot.

Seriously, in the right hands, coupled with today’s 3D technology, Frank Herbert’s mythical series could be the next “Star Wars.” However, before you spend $200+M, make sure Taylor Kitsch and/or Colin Farrell aren’t your leads.  That is all.  Return to your sandboxes.

Believe it or not, there is no Nicholas Sparks adaptation this Valentine’s, which is a major fail for everyone at every studio. How could this possibly happen? Where is the justice? Someone should be shit-canned for this. Luckily, Universal fills that void with “Endless Love,” a remake of Brooke Shield’s 1981 classic that featured supporting roles with James Spader, Tom Cruise and Ian “Sharknado” Ziering.

In just under 3000+ theaters, expect upwards of $20M, which is exactly what it cost to make. Even lovelorn studio execs have to be enamored with that kind of math.

WEEKEND ESTIMATES

1. THE LEGO MOVIE – $49M
2. ABOUT LAST NIGHT – $25M
3. ROBOCOP – $21M
4. ENDLESS LOVE – $20M
2. THE MONUMENTS MEN – $14M

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SPLICE OF LIFE: BLURBS, BLIPS, CUTS & CLIPS

SHIA LABEOUF: BAGBOY

No, Shia isn’t protesting the fact that the city of LA recently banned plastic bags at grocery stores with his latest stunt. You see, that would put the spotlight on something other than himself. No, his latest attempt at grabbing headlines (and its working like gangbusters) is opening an art exhibit in West Hollywood called #IAMSORRY.

The exhibition opened earlier this week at Artspace Warehouse near the Fairfax District and runs through Sunday. Admission is free (depending on how you value your time, as lines are now hours long), and after a frisking, you get to choose from an array of items to take in with you and humiliate him, or hug him, whilst he sits in front of you with a bag over his head. There are definitely eye-holes, but no confirmed tongue-hole. Just in case you were thinking about getting fresh.

Despite LaBeouf’s creative abstinence, let’s look at the positives in his life: He’s a multimillionaire, he could always do “Even Stevens: The Reunion Movie,” he will probably be invited to the red carpet premiere of “Transformers: Age of Extinction” and shake Mark Wahlberg’s hand, he’s in David Ayer’s next movie which costars Brad Pitt, and at 27, he’s already worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood.  Oh, and he wasn’t in “Piranha 3D.” So he’s got those things going for him.

Probably the coolest thing to come out of this is that Jerry O’Connell (the fat kid from “Stand By Me”) opened his own exhibit right next door called #IAMSORRYTOO, for a Funny or Die video. Honestly, he has a lot more to be sorry for, having appeared in “Piranha 3D,” “Tomcats,” and “Body Shots.” Oh, and let’s not forget he also let his brother Charlie star is his TV series, “Sliders,” off and on for four years. While a whip may be too harsh, a double-barrel shot of whip cream up the nostrils would be a serviceable punishment. Extra creamy.

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RUB-A-DUB-DUB, BACK IN THE “TUB”

“Can I get another HOT TUB?” Sure, how about “Hot Tub Time Machine 2?”  This isn’t going straight-to-DVD as you would expect, no, Paramount’s sequel to 2010’s surprise hit will crank up the heat on Christmas Day this year, although without their front man, John Cusack, who will be replaced with Adam Scott.

Why you ask? Well, Cusack doesn’t do sequels. Ever. Not in his 30+ years as an actor. He should probably receive some kind of humanitarian award for that, doncha think? Too bad though, cuz I know a lot of people would love to see him in “Still Better Off Dead.” Pretty sure I’ve quoted that flick every week since 1985. I just can’t quit you, Lane Meyer!

Thankfully, everyone else is back though, including Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry, Duke Clark and Chevy Chase. Director Steve Pink also returns. Can’t wait for this one.

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CHOICE CUT OF THE WEEK: Relativity’s “Brick Mansions”

Fans of Paul Walker will definitely appreciate this movie choice, as it doesn’t veer much (i.e. at all) from his role in “Fast & Furious,” except that he drives an American muscle car, a Mustang.

From the opening frames of the trailer, you’ll see the real star is Mr. Parkour himself, David Belle, the Frenchman who basically reprises his role from “District B13” and its sequel “District 13: Ultimatum.”

Not only was “District B13” Luc Besson’s creation, he’s also credited with the screenplay for “Brick Mansions,” which shouldn’t surprise anyone, as he has a serious hard on for action-Jackson flicks–“The Transporter,” “Colombiana,” “Taken,” “Lockout,” “3 Days to Kill.”

For an April release, gotta say, this doesn’t look too shabby. And hey, RZA is in it, too. I also love that every apocalyptic movie is now being set in Detroit.

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CHINTZY CUT OF THE WEEK: Universal’s “The Purge: Anarchy”

After witnessing “The Purge: Fear the Night” live haunted house extravaganza this fall, I had hopes the sequel to last summer’s surprise hit would cut a little deeper than what the first teaser trailer shows…which looks to be an absolute rehash. Snoooooooooring.

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CLASSIC CUT OF THE WEEK: Cameron Crowe’s “Say Anything”

In honor of V-day, and in the wake of all these shameless 80s reboots, we should pay tribute to one of the classic love stories of the 80s. Let’s face it, true, unabashed love is standing in the girl of your dream’s driveway with a boombox held aloft over your head playing Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes…even though in reality he was playing Fishbone’s Bonin’ in the Boneyard. Allegedly.

Fishbone’s Bonin’ in the Boneyard

Now, if someone had the cajones to remake “Say Anything” today (which they won’t or I’ll pummel them in the cajones), with a hipster John Cusack, say Miles Teller, he would probably ditch the boombox for a JBL Pulse, but still play Peter Gabriel…

…however it would be his cover of Magnetic Fields’ The Book of Love.

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Jeff Bock, NewsWhistle’s movie editor, is the senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations in Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at Jeff@NewsWhistle.com.

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“The Lego Movie” Poster Courtesy of Warner Bros.; Poster Design by Art Machine