Notable Openings This Weekend: Fifty Shades DarkerThe LEGO Batman MovieJohn Wick: Chapter 2

Split and Hidden Figures deserve a lot of credit for eating up the box office the last three weeks, but let’s face it – it’s January. There’s been absolutely nothing, nothing of note that has come out to challenge them, other than a Rings sequel people were mildly interested in, and a movie about dogs. That’s why I’ve been radio silent on Box Office Predictions the last couple weeks.  Did you really need me to do a deep dive on what A Dog’s Purpose was going to make?  I was too busy eating Honey Nut Cheerios. This weekend on the other hand is worth a triumphant return! We got three big releases, and they are all similar: Tortured contract killers, BDSM and Legos.

Let’s get Fifty Shades Darker over with. I’m sure you’re all expecting me to joke, rant and  watch in utter disgust at the mere presence of this movie. To be honest, I’ve ignored this  abomination completely. I haven’t given it two minutes of my time. Whenever I see an ad, trailer or TV spot, I just ignore it.  It’s not worth a single breath of discussion. I understand the novels had a wide ranging appeal, but are people really still talking about this? Is the fad over yet?

The first movie made a whopping $85 Million+ at the box office, then plummeted to a drop off just under 74%. Yikes. I’m guessing many people wanted to watch for the train-wreck factor. I’m not sure people will care enough this time around. The movie will open fine, but be WAY off from that opening two years ago. There’s still an interest, but many have moved on with their lives.

The LEGO Movie shocked everyone in 2014. Not only with its box office, but the fact that it was actually a really damn good movie. Everyone’s favorite breakout character was Will Arnett’s Batman. It’s funny to think of Batman as a breakout character, but I guess that’s the joke. I’m intrigued by the strong reviews, but there’s something about this movie that has always rubbed me the wrong way. It looks obnoxious. It feels like it was written by people who are annoyed that Batman gets all the superhero attention, as opposed to people who actually like Batman. I really hope I’m wrong. As a Batman fan, I hope this is a good addition to the mythos. We’ll see.

My personal expectations aside, this movie should do very well, but won’t break the bank.  The buzz is there, but it’s not at a fever pitch like a regular Batman movie, which is understandable. It still has the kid’s movie factor though, which is lacking in theaters right now. I’d be shocked if this didn’t finish #1.

When John Wick came out three years ago, everybody was talking about it. OH MY GOD, JOHN WICK WAS SO AMAZING! JOHN WICK! JOHN WICK! JOHN WICK! All that hype and buzz resulted in an opening weekend just under $15 Million. Yay. I’m guessing this got a sequel due to low production budget and monster DVD/Blu-Ray sales. This sequel needed strong reviews. It got them. I’ve been saying all along this didn’t need a sequel, but it looks like they may have actually made a good movie. I’ll know soon enough. The good word of mouth combined with a strong affection for the first film should result in a very strong #3 finish relative to how much it was made for.

HOW WILL IT ALL BREAK DOWN…

If there was ever a weekend that personified the term “Counter Programming,” it would be this one.  With the Super Bowl over, and a notorious slow sports period, this should be a very healthy box office.  The LEGO Batman Movie should easily nab #1 with an opening similar to The LEGO Movie.

1. The LEGO Batman Movie – $69 Million

2. Fifty Shades Darker – $47 Million

3. John Wick: Chapter Two – $25 Million

4. Split – $8 Million

5. Hidden Figures – $6 Million

Daniel Cohen is the hard-boiled Film Editor for the Pop Break. Besides reviews, Daniel writes box office predictions, Gotham reviews and Oscar coverage. He can also be found on the Breakcast. If Daniel was sprayed by Scarecrow's fear toxin, it would be watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a non-stop loop.