“The LEGO Movie” Opens with A Record-Setting $69.1 Million

As anticipated, Warner Bros.’ The LEGO Movie, directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, destroyed the box office with a $69.1 million opening. Not only did it become WB’s biggest animated opening and the biggest animated February opening, it was also the second-biggest February opening of all-time trailing only Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. According to the studio’s stated figures, the film cost just $60 million to produce, which is a fraction of the cost of major studio animated features, and even less than the $76 million production cost of Despicable Me 2. However, that figure is deceiving because Warner Bros. and co-producer Village Roadshow Pictures used Australian tax credits to offset the film’s cost.

Even with the arrival of LEGO Movie, Disney’s Frozen refused to quit. It earned $6.9M for 4th place in its 11th weekend of wide release. The film has amassed a massive $368.7M during its U.S. run and has nudged past Despicable Me 2 as the top animated film in the U.S. among 2013 releases. Also hanging in the top ten at No. 8 was Open Road Films’ The Nut Job, which added $3.8M for a $55.1M total.

Overseas, Frozen earned an additional $24 million, thanks in part to its fourth place $14.1M opening in China. The film’s international total stands at $545.1M and its global total is $913.7M. Meanwhile, DreamWorks’ Mr. Peabody & Sherman opened in the UK, a month in advance of its US launch. The film took first place with $6.4M although it was weaker than the $7.7M UK opening of Frozen and the $8.1M launch of The Croods.


  • Andy

    Well deserved. Its brilliant. Saw it yesterday, and i’ll probably see it again tonight.

  • Joseph Patrick

    I’m so glad this film profited! Got the chance to see it in theaters on Friday, and I wasn’t disappointed!

  • Crispy Walker

    I’m curious as to how they produced this film on a budget of 60 million. That’d be really interesting to hear elaborated upon. Congrats to Lego though.

    • otterhead

      Agreed. I’m eager to see some sort of making-of featurette. The Lego effects in the movie are so imaginative and elaborate that I kept thinking “how the HELL did they have the patience to do this?!”

    • Austin Papageorge

      The animation studio is Australian. Maybe that had something to do with it.

      Also, considering how Legos are simple geographic shapes, it couldn’t have been that taxing to animate the movie.

    • Jet

      Studio Ghibli roughly has an average budget of $25m per film from what I can tell and their animation is best-in-class. Perhaps this budget appears small compared to Disney and Dreamworks?

      Ponyo: $34m
      Lego: $60m
      The Croods: $135m

      Frozen: $150m

      I’d be interested in seeing a break-down too regardless. I would especially like to know why Disney are so expensive. (how much is actually spent on animation etc)

      Congrats to Lego as well!

      • Crispy Walker

        Comparing Studio Ghibli to anything done in CGI is like comparing apples to oranges. Japanese animators are paid offensively low wages (something like 12000 dollars a year starting out) — something that an American company wouldn’t be able to do — and a lot of times they send their work out to other, cheaper countries, to complete. 2D is usually cheaper to produce than CGI, but CGI offers better returns for the investment right now. But yeah — the budget does seem small compared to everything around right now, which was why I was curious as to how it’s done. I didn’t really think about the complexities of the rigging or anything though.

      • Tina

        Comparing to other 2D films for a more interesting comparison:

        Winnie the Pooh (2011): $30 million
        Princess & the Frog: $105 million
        Ernest & Celestine: $9,600,000

    • Jason

      It was animated overseas in Australia by Animal Logic.

    • Brandon V. Fletcher

      Limited rigs because of Lego minifigs. Lego probably already having a database of 3D models for their pieces. Thats just me guessing

      • SarahJesness

        Not to mention that American movie budgets, including those for animated films, do tend to be a little… inflated.

    • wever

      FYI, this is about 80% CGI. There’s really no way they would get this amount of epic scale this quickly in stop-motion unless they took 50 years to make it! That may contribute to the low budget. … plus, the minifigs and most other LEGO characters have around 7 points of articulation and that can really make animating them quicker!

  • Cheese

    I saw it yesterday, and I liked it very much. And if I liked it very much, I’m sure that my nephew and niece would do the same. Children will “assemble” for this fun animated feature.

  • Trevor

    I have what may seem like a dumb question. I haven’t had a chance to see “The LEGO Movie” but, given the overwhelmingly positive reviews, am planning to. But, as a grown man, I always feel a tad self-conscious going to see movies that, as witty and expertly animated as they may be, are primarily aimed at children.

    Am I alone in this? Does anyone else ever feel that same sense of trepidation and unease when going to see an animated film? When is the best time to see one of these films? I generally try to go to the latest showing available but even then there tend to be plenty of kids in the audience. I’d feel weird just going up to the box office and asking to buy a ticket to “The LEGO Movie.”

    Again, apologies for what may be a dopey question. Maybe I’m just entirely too self-conscious.

    • rubi-kun

      I saw a 4 PM 2D matinee on Friday at a small theater in a small town. The audience contained a few teenagers with parents, some college kids, and a couple older adults without kids. When we got out there was a big line of young kids and their families for the next showing.

    • IJK

      Chances are, the people working at the ticket booth are super eager to see the movie as well/have already seen it and loved it.

  • George Comerci

    Loved it! I saw it on Saturday and it was so awesome! I hope it will really be a huge success, it definitely deserves it :D

  • Barrett

    Saw this today and was very entertained. More depth to the story and characters than one might expect given the title. I definitely had more fun watching this than I did with Frozen,

  • Damian

    I read the critical response on Wikipedia for the series “The Amazing World of Gumball” saying “with most critics praising the show’s visuals, music, and humour”… then I see the state of animation today and how destroyed “Free Birds” without mercy even before it was premiered and from some time now I I read these wonderful words about the LEGO film. I mean, it seems that a few bank accounts are getting new funds these days. Something this cheap, commercial, lacking creativity… and “experimental animation”???? Please.

    • Strong Enough

      if its a good movie, its a good movie. regardless of the subject matter

  • Toonio

    Hope other studios follow suit and get more original material out there for us to enjoy and say “that’s cool, how they did that…”. Anything that breaks from ye olde princess wash-rinse-and-repeat storylines would only improve the current state of the industry and will give the audiences what they deserve for their money.

    • IJK

      There have been more non-princess features to come out than there have been princess animated stories in the past 10 years. Or is this post just coming through from 1998?

  • EscoDingo

    Really enjoyed the movie (the SPACESHIP part had me laugh ’til I cried) and it was definitely an ADHD nostalgia trip not unlike my childhood. The only disappointment I have is Wildstyle being whittled down to an old hero-gets-the-girl trope within an overused love-triangle trope that finished off pretty weirdly at the end. Pretty frustrating, despite Wildstyle starting off as an interesting master builder. Other than that, I kept watching in awe at the textures resembling actual plastic figures. It was really well executed.