‘Alita’ Wins The Fight With $28m On Poor President’s Day Weekend: Box Office Report
This President’s Day weekend is looking to be one of the lowest in the last 20 years, with its $119.6m delivering an incredible 66% drop-off from the ‘Black Panther’-led 3-day weekend of 2018.
No film looked to even get close to the MCU record-breaker, even Fox’s ‘Alita: Battle Angel’, whose $170m budget warranted a larger Friday to Sunday start than the $28.3m seen. Although this rises to $43m when including its Thursday opening and Monday’s holiday, it only prolongs the inevitable landing of the Box Office bomb.
‘Alita’s budget requires a break-even point far north of $400m, however the opening figure will likely lend itself to a $100m domestic finish for the James Cameron production. Gone are the days of ‘Titanic’ opening to $28.6m, only to finish on a whopping $659.4m domestically; opening weekends are key now, and this type of action-movie in mid-February just won’t have the necessary Box Office legs to sustain a credible domestic run.
What this therefore does is place more importance on the film’s overseas gross. This weekend saw it earn $54m from 86 countries, for a $94.3m international running total. It’s currently on-par with ‘Ready Player One’ at the same time of release in these markets but will have to open big (and last long) in key area China if it wants to match ‘RP1’s eventual $445m international total.
Spielberg’s ‘RP1’ cost $175m last year, and opened to $41.8m on its way to $137.7m in the U.S. The sci-fi adventure book adaptation is thus, in more ways than one, an apt barometer for ‘Alita’, whose hopes similarly lie on an over-performance in the Middle Kingdom, and a renewed audience interest in the States.
This Box Office weekend also saw a Warner Bros double in 2nd and 3rd place, with ‘LEGO 2’ and ‘Isn’t it Romantic’ earning $21.2m and $14.3m respectively between Friday and Sunday. ‘LEGO 2’s $68.8m running domestic total is under half that of its predecessor ‘The LEGO Movie’ at the same point in its run, all but confirming the rot set into the franchise.
The same can’t be said for rom-com ‘Isn’t it Romantic’, starring Rebel Wilson. Its solid start ($22.9m including its Wednesday start), coupled with a lucrative international rights deal with Netflix, almost makes you forget its $31m budget rivals that of last year’s ‘I Feel Pretty’, which finished on a so-so domestic $48.8m. Upcoming competition is manageable, in the form of ‘How to Train Your Dragon 3’ and the wide expansion of ‘Fighting with My Family’ next weekend, so expect decent legs from ‘IIR’ to come.
Now for the shock of the weekend: ‘Happy Death Day 2U’. After the 1st opened to $26m in 2017, the sequel saw a ‘LEGO 2-like fall, opening to $9.5m from Friday to Sunday ($14.7m from Wednesday to Monday). Whether it was crowded out by bigger competition, or leaving the much-publicised Friday the 13th release date of its predecessor that caused the opening drop, studio Blumhouse have mitigated the risk with the film’s micro $9m budget. Disappointing, for sure, but not a total that will be too concerning to all involved.