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BERLIN – Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow Pictures’ The Lego Movie is expected to become an instant sensation at the North American box office this weekend, barring a hit from Mother Nature. Based on prerelease tracking, the family film could open in the $45 million to $50 million range unless another storm on the East Coast turns into a monster.
The forecast isn’t as clear for George Clooney‘s latest directing effort, The Monuments Men, co-financed by Sony and 20th Century Fox. The $70 million World War II comedy-drama is expected to open in the $15 million to $20 million range.
The latest YA adaptation, Vampire Academy, also enters the fray and is tracking to debut between $9 million and $10 million. The Weinstein Co. is handling the movie in the U.S.
By far, Lego — hoping to launch a franchise — is commanding the most attention. On Thursday, Fandango reported that the 3D animated pic is on track to become the company’s second-biggest animated title behind Toy Story 3 in terms of advance ticket sales. MovieTickets.com is likewise reporting huge sales.
Lego, based on the wildly popular toy line, was made in association with Lego Systems A/S. The voice cast includes Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Liam Neeson and Morgan Freeman.
The story follows an ordinary minifigure named Emmet who is mistaken for the hero who can save the Lego universe. With the aid of Batman, Uni-Kitty and Benny, among other characters, he must learn to defeat the tyrant Lord Business.
While Lego boasted a 98 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes on Thursday, Clooney’s Monuments Men only sported a 33 percent rating. That’s problematic, considering the movie will play to older moviegoers, who can be more influenced by reviews. However, Sony is hopeful that the movie will have strong legs.
Clooney also stars in Monuments Men, opposite Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville and Cate Blanchett. The movie was originally supposed to roll out over Christmas, but its release was pushed back until this weekend. On Saturday, it makes its international premiere at the Berlin Film Festival.
Monuments Men, made in association with Germany’s Babelsberg Studio and based on the nonfiction book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History, follows a ragtag Allied squad of out-of-shape museum directors, artists, architects, curators and art historians tasked with saving important works of art before they are destroyed by the Nazis.
Based on Richelle Mead‘s 2007 novel and directed by Mark Waters, Vampire Academy stars Zoey Deutch, Danila Kozlovsky and Lucy Fry. The story revolves around three friends who are dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, where they must contend with a dangerous hierarchy, along with lies and secrets.
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