Updated: 51d
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Updated: 61d

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Sunday UPDATE: Ain't no stopping the blocks. Make it two straight for The Lego Movie, walling off the competition again, dropping a precisely-what-we-predicted -29% in the bricks' sophomore frame, taking their two-week total to $129M. Well back in second, Kevin Hart's Midas touch continued as About Last Night won the war of the '80s remakes, taking full advantage of Valentine's Day, doing roughly half its business on Friday. Robocop played slightly better than projected though well off what Sony anticipated when green-lighting the reboot.

1. The Lego Movie $48.8M

2. About Last Night $27M

3. Robocop $21.5M

4. The Monuments Men $15M

5. Endless Love $13.4M

6. Ride Along $8.8M

7. Winter's Tale $7.8M

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TitanicThe Blind Side, Shrek, Avatar. All blockbusters of the ginormous kind which happen to share another illustrious feat: little-to-zero drop in their second weekend in theaters. Heck, the first three films of that foursome rose in their second frames. It speaks to through-the-roof word of mouth, precisely what those plastic bricks from The Lego Movie have going for them entering their sophomore frame. While lovers will choose pick one of this Valentine's Day weekend's '80s retreads – About Last Night and Endless Love – expect families and fanboys to continue flocking to the interlocking blocks in towering numbers.

(All 3-day sums, not including Presidents Day)

1. The Lego Movie $49.5M - Repeat viewings buoy more big business for the bricks.

2. About Last Night $29.5M (↑) - Forecasting this weekend's wild card to open along the lines of November's The Best Man Holiday.

3. Robocop $17.25M (↔) - Horrid $2.8M debut on Wednesday portends a low-ammo weekend for the third of the three '80s remakes.

4. Endless Love $17M (↓) - Nicholas Sparks for the YA set. Could tank.

5. The Monuments Men $14M - What other options do adults have aside from months-old Oscar nominees?

6. Winter's Tale $9.75M (↓) - This literary sapfest is the second of our "flop watch" features.

@ErickWeber

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Updated: 67d

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Monday UPDATE UPDATE: +80% confirmed. That eye-popping Friday-to-Saturday surge for The Lego Movie is by my recollection, one of – if not the – largest one-day bump ever recorded. Yes, word of mouth is off the charts for the plastic blocks as a diminutive weekend-to-weekend drop is a proverbial lead-pipe lock.

1. The Lego Movie $69.1M

2. The Monuments Men $22M

3. Ride Along $9.6M

4. Frozen $6.9M

5. Lone Survivor $5.6M

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Sunday UPDATE: Franchise assembled. As nailed here Friday, The Lego Movie proved to be 2014's first blockbuster, banking $69.1M, the second-largest February debut ever. The most mind-boggling stat built by the bricks? An 81% surge from Friday to Saturday, the largest day-to-day jump we can recall — ever. That's how Superman-strong word of mouth affects sales as these plastic blocks could go on a lengthy win streak depending on how well received a pair of remakes – Robocop and About Last Night – are next weekend. As for George Clooney's tonal train wreck, The Monuments Men, the WWII dramedy did decent business on the back of the 35+ crowd who chose to ignore its wretched reviews.

1. The Lego Movie $69.1M

2. The Monuments Men $22.7M

3. Ride Along $9.4M

4. Frozen $6.9M

5. That Awkward Moment $5.5M

__________________

99%. Discounting a single soulless critic's incompetence, let's round that to 100%. Uber-deserving of that crazy-high Tomatometer score, The Lego Movie is set to fittingly become 2014's first true "block"-buster this weekend, a project of prodigious imagination, producing soda-spitting laughter — it's already locked down a spot on my list of the top films of 2014. With an A – likely A+ – CinemaScore assured, word of mouth will help key a massive windfall for the minifigs, ensnaring both families and fanboys in equal numbers, looking to post the second-largest opening ever for February — yes, I'm quite bullish on the plastic bricks.

1. The Lego Movie $71.5M (↑) - Another fortuitous sign: trending bigger than Despicable Me 2, Monsters University and Frozen in advance ticket sales on Fandango.

2. The Monuments Men $13.5M (↔) - There's a good reason George Clooney's World War II dramedy was moved from December to February, away from Oscar consideration: it's a tonal train wreck.

3. Ride Along $7.5M - Plows through the $100M mark this weekend.

4. Frozen $6.5M - Sing-along version keeps Elsa the Snow Queen kicking in her now third month in theaters.

5. Vampire Academy $6M (↓) - Give the folks at Weinstein an A for effort: "They suck at school" is a rather catchy tagline.

@ErickWeber

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Updated: 70d

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It's the question I'm most asked: What's the single-greatest factor when determining your more-prized than rhodium Final Cut® score for a film?

In a proverbial nutshell: How engrossingly entertaining is it — how dialed in to the screen was I?

By that measure, The Lego Movie comes as close to perfection as any project essentially could, it's a giddily-buoyant, blindingly-imaginative, utterly-riotous slice of escapist bliss that teeters on the brink of brilliance.

Yeah, it's that freaking good.

Immersing us in their vibrant – hyper-witty – world of interlocking blocks (a dizzying, smart hybrid of stop-motion Legos & CGI), the directorial duo, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, introduce Emmet (Chris Pratt doing "dim" quite convincingly), an uber-assimilative Lego man, constantly clasping a board of instructions with his claw hands, obeying whatever his plastic universe dictates the commercial norm — the average homogenized American consumer in minifigure form.

With the poptacular electronica anthem "Everything is Awesome" incessantly blaring throughout the city of bricks, Emmett and his crew of construction chums detonate anything and everything that doesn't meet President Business' (Will Ferrell) uniformity — as with real life, going off script with your blocks is frowned upon in favor of strict adherence to the 78-part directions.

But there's push back from free-thinking radicals like Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), a hoodie-wearing hellion hunting for the Piece of Resistance, the literal cap to Business' plan to release his chemical weapon, the Kragle, upon his unsuspecting lemmings.

Stumbling upon the protective piece of plastic, Emmitt – like Frodo before him – begins the pilgrimage to Business' mile-high skyscraper lair, looking to thwart the prez's maniacal scheme, aided by rag-tag rebels including Vitruvius, a glowing-eyed Gandalf (Morgan Freeman eliciting gut-busting guffaws) and The Dark Knight himself, Batman (Will Arnett slaying it with his gravelly-voiced one liners).

There's a profusion of The MatrixThe Lord of the Rings and Star Wars influence on display; the latter two pop up in brick form with hysterical results.

As they proved with their big screen debut, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and their sophomore outing, 21 Jump Street, Lord and Miller get comedy, flooding the razor-sharp – anarchical – script (co-penned by Dan and Kevin Hageman) with self-reverential, satirical humor, the kind of lightning-round laughs you'd find on The Simpsons or Family Guy — minus the crudities.

This is a family film, one that will work wonders for any age, featuring a final twist that's nothing short of magical.

Damn, I love this movie.

A month into the year, a spot in my top 10 of 2014 has been locked down. Heck, The Lego Movie could legitimately contend for the top spot.

Go — now.

Final Cut Score: 98%

@ErickWeber

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Updated: 74d

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Monday UPDATE UPDATE: Everything down roughly $300K with the actuals, the Super Bowl – the most-watched TV event ever – responsible for taking Sunday night out of play.

1. Ride Along $12M

2. Frozen $8.9M

3. That Awkward Moment $8.7M

4. The Nut Job $7.3M

5. Lone Survivor $7.1M

6. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit $5.3M

7. Labor Day $5.2M

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Sunday UPDATE: Sell. My sage advice for Zac Efron stockholders after the oafish opening of his That Awkward Moment, finishing on the low end of expectations with a middling $9M. Kevin and Cube drove off with their third-straight title, dropping just 42% if Universal's estimate holds up. The weekend's other newbie, Labor Day, netted director Jason Reitman his worst ever per-theater average. Next weekend, it's all about The Lego Movie, 2014's first boffo blockbuster.

1. Ride Along $12.3M

2. Frozen $9.3M

3. That Awkward Moment $9M

4. The Nut Job $7.6M

5. Lone Survivor $7.2M

6. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit $5.4M

7. Labor Day $5.3M

__________________

Booor-ing. Forgive me for mailing this one in but clearly that's what Hollywood has chosen to do, staring in the face of the Super Bowl, supplying the already humdrum marketplace with two straight-to-Starz newbies in That Awkward Moment and Labor Day. The former sees Zac Efron partnered with two actors who have much bigger things ahead of them – Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station) and Miles Teller (The Spectacular Now) – than the former HSM'er. The latter has Jason Reitman dropping satirical comedy in favor of sappy drama in Labor Day, a movie that eroticizes the act of making a peach pie. 'Tis a half-baked weekend indeed.

1. That Awkward Moment $14.5M (↓) - Young crowd had been awfully fickle of late, is Efron a box office draw? $8M budget allays any serious financial fears for Focus.

2. Frozen $10.5M (↑) - Mouse House extends the already crazy-long shelf life of Princess Elsa and her snowy kingdom with a sing along rendition in 2K theaters.

3. Ride Along $10.25M - Super Bowl delivers Sunday hit as Kevin and Cube creep closer to $100M stateside.

4. Lone Survivor $7.25M - Will hit the $100M domestic mark this weekend.

5. The Nut Job $6.75M - Takes shot to its nuts from resurgent Frozen.

6. Labor Day $6.5M (↔) - The once Oscar wannabe looks to prey on desperate females.

@ErickWeber

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It was many moons ago in a darkened theater that my love of cinema took root as I snuck in to see my first R-rated film, Blade Runner. The futuristic vision that Ridley Scott unleashed on the screen was simply soul-expanding — spiritual even. From that moment, my mission to have that kind of magic strike again began in earnest. My hope is to be able to shine a light on films that may just have that kind of effect on you — films that may be lesser known, but not lesser in impact. 
             
- Erick Weber

Final Cut Scoring System
99-95% Opening night
94-90% Opening weekend
89-86% In theaters
85-83% On Demand
82-80% Netflix/Redbox
79-75% If desperate
74-70% If dozing off
69-65% If intoxicated
64-60% If comatose
Below 60% If brain dead

Erick's reviews
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The Lego Movie 98%
The Monuments Men 70%
Labor Day 80%
Lone Survivor 91%
Her 92%
The Wolf of Wall Street 98%
August: Osage County 88%
American Hustle 94%
Saving Mr. Banks 94%
Inside Llewyn Davis 84%
Nebraska 91%
Dallas Buyers Club 80%
12 Years a Slave 95%


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