Box Office: ‘Alita: Battle Angel’ Tops Expectations With $41M Debut

1. Alita: Battle Angel (review)- $27.8M/$36.5M
Reports of Alita: Battle Angel‘s demise appear to have been premature.  The live-action manga adaptation from James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez hit $36M over the weekend and an estimated $41M over the longer President Day holiday. That’s gotta be considered a positive as analysts were projecting just $25M for the $200M sci-fi film. Even better; the word of mouth has been pretty good among moviegoers who gave it an “A-” Cinemascore. Cameron movies tend to be very leggy; Avatar opened with $77M on its way to a record-breaking $2.7B, Titanic with $28M on its way to $2.1B. I’m not saying Alita: Battle Angel will have that kind of staying power, those were very different times, but history is on Cameron’s side. Overseas the film has earned another $94M, but it still has a long way to go for profitability. Opening in China and Japan should close the gap significantly. Some estimates have it needing to hit $500M to break even, when you factor marketing and other costs.
2. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part– $21.2M/$62.6M
The Lego Movie sequel held pretty well in its second week, falling 37% for a domestic total of $62M. Estimates are it will have a strong President’s Day and push past the $70M mark. These numbers are still considerably lower than its predecessor, however. Worldwide it sits at $97.3M.
3. Isn’t It Romantic (review)- $14.2M/$20.4M
The Rebel Wilson/Liam Hemsworth rom-com Isn’t It Romantic had a decent start with $20M since its Wednesday debut. The timing was perfect for taking advantage of Valentine’s Day and it will be interesting to see how it holds up next week without that natural synergy. Wilson has a pretty good track record spinning out of the Pitch Perfect flicks so we could see this as a modest hit for Warner Bros.
4. What Men Want– $10.9M/$36.1M
5. Happy Death Day 2U (review)- $9.8M/$13.5M
A disappointing drop for sequel Happy Death Day 2U, which hit $13.5M over the weekend and a likely $15M-$16M through Monday. That’s a far cry from the $26M opening weekend for the prior film, although the $9M price tag should cushion the blow somewhat.  While the reviews have been good, the problem may be the film’s ambition. Jessica Rothe returns (and she continues to be excellent) as a college student trapped in a timeloop that resets each time she dies, but this is not a horror movie like the first one. It’s a comedy, a sci-fi romance, and many other things and that could disappoint those expecting a little more bloodshed.
6. Cold Pursuit– $6M/$21.1M
7. The Upside– $5.5M/$94.1M
8. Glass– $3.8M/$104.4M
9. The Prodigy– $3.1M/$11M
10. Green Book– $2.7M/$65.7M

WWE’s Paige biopic Fighting With My Family (review) had a soft launch in 4 theatres, earning $165K. How Dwayne Johnson’s presence as producer and co-star (he makes a couple of cameos as himself) plays in larger release is one of the biggest question marks.