After a sluggish January and early February—a period in which we all arguably had more pressing issues than the mythology of Rings on our minds—the U.S. box office finally started to pick up last weekend, with three new releases spurring on a 92 percent increase in returns over the week before. Leading the pack was The Lego Batman Movie, which rode a wave of goodwill from 2014’s The Lego Movie, as well as two recognizable brands in its title, to a No. 1 spot at the box office.
The Lego Caped Crusader’s $55.6 million gross didn’t exactly put Fifty Shades Darker in its place, though. Although critical response was savage—it currently stands at a dismal 9 percent on review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes—the second chapter in the Fifty Shades trilogy came in above (admittedly lowered) expectations with a $46.8 million weekend, landing it at No. 2 at the domestic box office. We’ll see if those numbers hold once the people who were going to see the movie regardless of what reviews said have all had their fill. Darker’s predecessor Fifty Shades Of Grey dropped off sharply in its second weekend, though, so they probably won’t.
But if you ask The A.V. Club, you’d be better off taking your Valentine to go see another sort of romance this week: The love between a man and the sprawling international network of super-spies that he just can’t quit. John Wick: Chapter 2, which our critics quite liked, came in at No. 3 at the domestic box office this weekend, earning $30 million and all but ensuring the threequel that’s set up at the end of the second film. As for the title of the next one, we quite like Birth.Movies.Death editor Phil Nobile Jr.’s suggestion of John Wick Must Die!, although you could really take the title of any given Django movie, put “John Wick“ in there, and come up with something badass.
Meanwhile, the rest of the box office this weekend was marked by steadily diminishing returns for Oscar nominees and leftover January dreck. M. Night Shyamalan’s Split, one of the strongest January films, fell from No. 1 to No. 4 with $9 million, followed by Hidden Figures rounding out the top five. Further down the charts, Maren Ade’s masterful Toni Erdmann saw a solid 37 percent jump in business over last week, prompted by both a 25-screen expansion as well as news of a high-profile remake. This week’s specialty new releases, A United Kingdom, Land Of Mine, and Kedi, all had modest openings, so let’s hope Bill Murray actually watches his screeners of those.
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.