'Lego Movie 2' falls short with debut

"The Lego Movie 2" had one of the smallest openings in the franchise based on the popular toys.

"The Lego Movie 2" had one of the smallest openings in the franchise based on the popular toys.

LOS ANGELES - After a disappointing start to 2019, industry watchers were hoping Warner Bros.' "The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part" would help turn things around and bring audiences back to their local multiplexes.

The animated sequel did easily top box office charts with $34.4-million from 4,303 locations, but it wasn't able to build the buzz that the studio anticipated heading into the weekend.

Early estimates from both Warner Bros. and independent tracking services suggested "The Lego Movie 2" would open with at least $50-million for the weekend. But unlike the film's anthem, everything is was not awesome for the sequel in its first three days in theatres.

Despite an enthusiastic reception, "The Lego Movie 2" had one of the smallest openings in the franchise based on the popular toys, falling only behind 2017's spinoff, "The Lego Ninajgo Movie" ($20-million). It debuted almost 50 percent behind its predecessor, 2014's "The Lego Movie," which pulled off a surprisingly strong $69-million launch before ending its theatrical run with $469-million worldwide.

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the duo known for movies like "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" and "21 Jump Street," returned to write and produce "The Lego Movie 2."

Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, and Will Arnett once again lent their voices for "The Lego Movie 2," while Tiffany Haddish, Stephanie Beatriz, and Maya Rudolph joined the cast. It's the fourth film in the "Lego" franchise, which also includes "The Lego Batman Movie." Each entry cost between $60-million and $80-million before taking marketing into account.

"The Lego Movie 2" doesn't have a ton of time to make up ground before two titles also geared toward family audiences -- Universal's "How to Train Your Dragon 3: The Hidden World" and Disney-Marvel's "Captain Marvel" -- arrive in the coming weeks.