"The Lego Movie" will face little competition for the No. 1 box office spot this weekend as the 3D disaster picture "Pompeii" and the Kevin Costner action thriller "3 Days to Kill" enter theaters.
The irreverent, 3D animated comedy from Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow Pictures is expected to build up an additional $35 million in ticket sales from the U.S. and Canada through Sunday.
That should secure "Lego Movie" a third-straight weekend victory and add to its already impressive domestic total of about $150 million. "Lego Movie" has passed $200 million in global ticket sales, including the U.S. and Canada.
Meanwhile, the special effects epic "Pompeii," directed by Paul W.S. Anderson ("Resident Evil" and "Alien Vs. Predator"), is not poised for an explosive debut.
The action-romance could generate roughly $15 million in its debut in theaters, according to people who have seen pre-release audience surveys -- better than Anderson's 2011 effort, "Three Musketeers," though not as strong as any of the "Resident Evil" movies.
"Pompeii" was produced by Constantin Film and Impact Pictures with financing from Constantin and FilmDistrict to the tune of $80 million and is getting distribution from Sony Pictures.
The PG-13 film stars Kit Harington of HBO's "Game of Thrones" as a slave-turned-gladiator in the year AD 79. As his city faces the deadly eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, he must try to save his beloved, a merchant's beautiful daughter played by Emily Browning, star of the 2011 fantasy "Sucker Punch."
Relativity Media's new $28-million "3 Days to Kill," starring Costner as a spy who tries to revive his relationships with his daughter and wife while completing one last assignment, should have a respectable debut. Still, it is not likely to repeat the success of the hit "Taken" series, which features Liam Neeson as the dad who takes on the bad guys.
Directed by McG of "This Means War" and "Terminator Salvation," "3 Days to Kill" is expected to gross $12 million through Sunday. The film is based on a story by the French action maven Luc Besson, whose films include the "Taken" and "Transporter" series. Besson co-wrote the script with Adi Hasek.
Relativity and Europacorp, the French company behind the "Taken" franchise, co-produced and co-financed "3 Days to Kill."
Neither "Pompeii" nor "3 Days to Kill" has received many positive reviews from critics. As of this writing, "Pompeii" has a 33% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and "3 Days to Kill" has a score of 17%.
The new releases will have to contend with holdovers "About Last Night" and "RoboCop," which could bring in more than $10 million each over the weekend.
"About Last Night," a remake of the 1986 Rob Lowe-Demi Moore rom-com and last week's runner-up to "Lego Movie," has gathered about $29 million domestically in five days and is the latest successful comedy to star Kevin Hart, coming shortly after his buddy cop comedy "Ride Along."
"RoboCop," another 1980s remake, has grossed $32 million from the U.S. and Canada since its debut last Wednesday, a less-than-stellar start considering its budget of more than $100 million. However, its international performance has already pushed it past the $100-million mark worldwide.