NEW YORK — “The Lego Movie” clicked with moviegoers, assembling an exceptional $69.1 million debut at the weekend box office, according to studio estimates.
The better-than-expected result made the Warner Bros. collaboration with the Danish toy company easily the biggest hit of the year so far. A sequel is already in development for the 3-D animated film, digitally drawn to mimic a world composed entirely of Lego bricks.
The film has drawn raves from critics. Co-directors and co-writers Phil Lord and Chris Miller (“21 Jump Street,” “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs”) gave the film a playful tone to capture the whimsy of a child playing in a box of Legos. Characters are largely voiced by comic actors such as Chris Pratt and Will Ferrell.
The film marks the biggest animation hit for Warner Bros., a studio that despite popular live-action franchises has struggled to develop animated hits on par with other studios.
George Clooney’s World War II caper “The Monuments Men” opened in second place with $22.7 million. Reviews have been weak for the based-on-a-true-story tale about the mission to retrieve artwork stolen by the Nazis.
The Sony Pictures film was postponed from a Dec. 25 release because, Clooney then said, more time was needed to finish the visual effects. Clooney served as director, co-writer, producer and star on the film.
“The Monuments Men,” based on the nonfiction book by Robert Edsel and Brett Witter, was particularly popular with older moviegoers.