UPDATE 1-'LEGO Movie' tops 'Monuments Men' to score huge U.S. box office win

Sun Feb 9, 2014 1:27pm EST
 
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By Ronald Grover and Chris Michaud

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK Feb 9 (Reuters) - "The LEGO Movie," an animated film based on the colorful plastic children's blocks, snapped up $69.1 million in ticket sales to top weekend box office charts, easily beating the George Clooney World War Two film "The Monuments Men."

"The Monuments Men," which also stars Matt Damon, Bill Murray and John Goodman, was second with $22.7 million in sales at U.S. and Canadian theaters. The film is based on the true story of U.S. soldiers who rescued art masterpieces from Nazi thieves.

After three consecutive weeks in the top spot, the Kevin Hart-Ice Cube comedy "Ride Along" took third with $9.4 million, according to data supplied by Rentrak.

Led by the voices of Will Ferrell, Will Arnett and Morgan Freeman, "The LEGO Movie" features toy mini-figures of Batman, a pirate and others in a Lego universe faced with destruction on Taco Tuesday.

The film won lavish praise from critics as inventive and funny, with 112 of 118 critics giving it a "fresh" rating on the movie review site Rotten Tomatoes, and far surpassed average industry projections of an opening weekend around $50 million.

"The LEGO Movie" was heavily marketed by Warner Brothers and The LEGO Group, the Danish company that makes the popular snap together blocks. The toy company released 17 building sets inspired by scenes from the movie. McDonald's released eight collectable holographic cups with its Happy Meals.

"It's awesome," said Dan Fellman, president of domestic distribution for Warner Brothers of the blockbuster opening, which was the biggest of 2014 thus far.   Continued...