Finally, after what seemed like a delayed start in the Box Office this year, 2019 truly kicks off with 4 new major U.S. releases looking to earn some serious change.

They’re being led this weekend by ‘The LEGO Movie 2’, the Warner Bros sequel looking to best its predecessor’s $69.1m opening half a decade ago. Since ‘The LEGO Movie’s unprecedented success in 2014, we’ve had 2 further additions to the franchise in ‘LEGO Batman’ and ‘LEGO Ninjago’, both suffering from diminishing Box Office returns.

Was ‘LEGO Movie’ thus a flash in the pan, or were ‘Ninjago’ and ‘Batman’s grosses reflective of the demand for their niches, and not of a franchise in decline? Warner Bros. will hope it’s the latter, although issues also arise from the timing of release. The sequel coming out 5 years after the first (animation is always more time-consuming) draws comparisons to last year’s ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’, which opened 6 years after ‘Wreck it Ralph’ burst onto screens. The result? An opening increase of just $7m, and a current global total only $15m above its predecessor’s.

The difference here, however, is that Warner Bros didn’t spend $175m like Disney did on the sequel. In fact, it barely spent $100m, so a similar global total to ‘LEGO Movie’ ($469.1m) will do the studio fine. WB can also rely on ‘LEGO 2’s humour and uniqueness to attract cinemagoers again, alongside new stars in Tiffany Haddish, Maya Rudolph, and Stephanie Beatriz. Lord & Miller are back in a producing capacity, while in steps Mike Mitchell (‘Shrek Forever After’, ‘Trolls’) to direct. The film sees Chris Pratt return as Emmet, who must rescue Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) who’s being kidnapped by an alien. Told you it’s unique.

So what will open to? We can’t see this one hitting the same heights as ‘The LEGO Movie’, but nonetheless we’re forecasting a gross of $62m from Friday to Sunday, a fantastic start for the film that boasts 91% on the Tomatometer.

This leaves the rest fighting for 2nd place, which will likely end up in the capable hands of Taraji P. Henson and Paramount. Their comedy ‘What Men Want’, also starring Tracy Morgan, is a loose remake of the 2000 Mel Gibson comedy ‘What Women Want’, and sees Ali (Henson) gain the ability to hear men’s thoughts.

It’s a premise with promise, and the R-rated comedy could potentially serve as counter-programming to the family-friendly ‘LEGO 2’. Adding to the fact that it’s produced by Will Packer, the man behind the heavy-hitters ‘Girls Trip’, ‘Ride Along’, and last year’s ‘Night School’, we’re expecting a strong debut. The lack of Haddish and Hart may affect its opening, but a $20m start is still on the cards.

Next is ‘Cold Pursuit’, the latest Liam Neeson-driven action-vigilante film, in which he plays a grieving parent looking for vengeance (stop if you’ve heard this before). Its premise is a path well-trodden; the film stems from the 2014 Norwegian film ‘In Order of Disappearance’. Also, it boasts an incredible 83% on the Tomatometer, marking one of Neeson’s best-reviewed films since ‘Schindler’s List’.

It definitely has the potential to breakout then, although to do so it’ll need strong legs in the aftermath of what is going to be an underwhelming opening. This’ll also require Neeson himself to quieten down after his bizarre interview-turned-PR-nightmare earlier this week. An opening in the region of $13m is pretty much a given when it comes to recent R-rated action films starring ageing male leads (‘The Commuter’, ‘Death Wish’, ‘The Foreigner’), and it’s expected that ‘Cold Pursuit’, regardless of critical reception and interview drama, will join the pack.

Finally, this weekend sees the release of Orion Pictures horror ‘The Prodigy’, starring Taylor Schilling, into 2,500 cinemas. Although likely to be lost in a sea bigger releases, we expect ‘Prodigy’ to pull in $5m between Friday and Sunday.

As ‘The LEGO Movie 2’ looks to finally smash through the ‘Glass’ ceiling, ‘Cold Pursuit’ looks set to chase the pack, while Will Packer loses his winning opening weekend streak with ‘What Men Want’. Which of these films will impress the most this weekend? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.