The Lego Ninjago Movie
|Budget: $70 million||Financed by: Warner Bros; RatPac-Dune|
|Domestic Gross: $59,281,555||Domestic Distributor: Warner Bros|
|Overseas Gross: Still in release|
& Paul Fisher & Bob Logan
Directed by: Charlie Bean
Produced by: Chris McKay
After The LEGO Movie became a surprise smash ($469 million global box office) in 2014, Warner Bros quickly announced a sequel and two spin offs — The LEGO Ninjago Movie and The LEGO Batman Movie. Ninjago was budgeted at $70 million, with financing from Warner Bros and additional investments from RatPac-Dune. The Ninjago Movie was first dated for September 23, 2016 but voice casting was not finalized until mid August 2016 and the studio pushed the project back to September 22, 2017. The LEGO Batman Movie was dated just seven months prior to Ninjago on February 10, 2017 and pulled in less than its predecessor, but grossed a very healthy $311 million worldwide. Along with franchise saturation, The Lego Ninjago Movie also had to convince auds to pay money to see it on the big screen, since the TV program Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu had been on the air for seven seasons. Regardless, the movie had the full weight of the Warner Bros marketing machine behind it.
Along with a major ad campaign, Warner Bros Consumer Products landed dozens of global corporate partners for promotional tie-ins. Handcraft Manufacturing, SGI Apparel, Isaac Morris and Bioworld released were tapped to provide ninja-themed apparel. Fast Forward signed on for branded back-to-school backpacks. DK Publishing, Scholastic, Ameet, Blue Ocean and others created movie tie-ins incorporating storybooks, readers, activity books, sticker books, magazines, junior novels, guidebooks and more. Clic Time had watches and clocks. Sakar had phone cases. Hallmark of course had greetings and gift presentation. Party City for (you guessed it) party goods. Franco Manufacturing took home décor including bedding. Many more cross promotional tie-ins were unloaded onto the market and yet even with high audience awareness, Ninjago was tracking for an opening in the high $20 to mid $30 million range.
The Lego Ninjago Movie received mixed notices from critics. It bowed against Kingsman: The Golden Circle and the cheap horror dud Friend Request and Ninjago opened far below expectations with $20,433,071 — placing #3 for the weekend led by Kingsman and the Warner Bros smash hit It in its third frame. The Lego Ninjago Movie declined 43% the following session to $11,644,237 and held on with a modest 39.9% drop to $7,002,474 in its third weekend. However, the domestic run looks like it will close just below $60 million.
This short lived series of Lego movies has also showed diminishing returns overseas. The Lego Movie cumed a strong $211.4 million from its overseas run and The Lego Batman Movie pulled in $136.2 million. While it is still in release, The Lego Ninjago Movie has exhausted every market and has so far stalled at $63.3 million in overseas receipts. The worldwide total currently stands at $122.5 million and will unlikely go much higher. With those numbers, WB would see returned about $66 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, which would not even cover global P&A expenses or any of the budget.