A collection of muted victories is the best way to describe the box office over the Presidents’ Day weekend. Alita: Battle Angel might have won the top spot, but a surprising showing for Rebel Wilson rom-com Isn’t It Romantic? could be a victory in and of itself.
The Robert Rodriguez/James Cameron collaboration Alita: Battle Angel (59% on the Tomatometer) had been gestating since the early 2000s and was in post-production for nearly two years before its release this weekend. Alita’s $34.3 million is good enough for 12th all-time over Presidents’ Day weekend, but with its Valentine’s Day opening it stands at $43 million.
The film wisely avoided the battle against Aquaman and Mary Poppins Returns over the end-of-2018 holiday, though a meager start is not going to calm the waters in the spending department. Clocking in at a reported $170 million budget (not counting distribution costs) means that eyes will be focused on its international output, where it currently stands with an additional $94 million.
That’s not a terrible start if its goal was $100 million domestic. It has already surpassed the final grosses of 2017’s Ghost in the Shell ($40.5 million) and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. It would take $112.7 million for Alita to be Rodriguez’s highest-grossing film ever, but it could be at the cost of being his most expensive flop to date as well.
Coming in at a shocking low this weekend was Happy Death Day 2U. Blumhouse’s sequel to its $55 million 2017 hit made just $11 million over the four-day weekend, and $14.7 million since its opening on Wednesday. That is considerably less than the original’s three-day opening weekend of $26 million. Critics were still generally on board with the franchise, as it stands at 67% on the Tomatometer (down from 71% the first time around) and the notoriously cost-efficient Blumhouse is not going to lose too much sleep even after ballooning the budget from $4.7 million to a whopping $9 million. However, expectations ranging from $20-30 million for 2U’s first six days amounts to a bummer.
The other new wide release of the week, Isn’t It Romantic?, has managed $22.8 million since its opening on Valentine’s Day. That’s nearly halfway to the total of star Rebel Wilson’s 2016 rom-com How To Be Single, which finished with $46.8 million after opening two days before the card-and-flowers holiday. Still, Isn’t It Romantic’s $31 million production is going to need some help to turn a profit for Warner Bros.
The studio’s Lego Movie 2: The Second Part grossed $27.3 million over the four-day weekend. Of films to open between $34-35 million, its three-day weekend of $21.2 million was less than Identity Thief, Ransom, and Lethal Weapon 4 — all R-rated films. Those three made between $67 million and $72 million after ten days, while Lego 2 sat at $62.6 million. The good news is that the animated sequel is not far behind the $130-137 million grosses of that adult fare, but it is still significantly less than both the original film and The Lego Batman Movie.
It took 28 days, but M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass finally passed the $100 million mark — on Valentine’s Day. It will soon be joined by The Upside, the first big surprise hit of 2019, which could hit the benchmark by the end of next weekend. For the fifth straight weekend the Kevin Hart/Bryan Cranston remake has dropped less than 30 percent from the previous week, and that’s even with the film dropping 591 theaters this weekend. It’s a feat that Oscar nominee Green Book has pulled off for the ninth straight weekend, with that film’s total box office haul now standing at more than $65 million. Meanwhile, Paramount’s What Men Want is in a position where $50 million would be the lowball for its final gross.
Black Panther had the fifth-highest opening weekend of all time, with $202 million over the Presidents’ Day weekend. Including the Monday holiday, the Oscar-nominated comic book movie posted a grand total of $242.1 million and was well on its way to becoming the third-highest-grossing domestic title ever. On the lower end that weekend, Aardman Animation suffered a dud with Early Man making just $3.19 million. PureFlix’s biblical effort, Samson, did not have much strength either with just a $1.9 million start, but The Greatest Showman continued to flex its muscles by crossing the $150 million mark. Thanks to Ryan Coogler and Marvel the Top Ten films grossed $267.3 million over the weekend and more than $323 million during the four-day holiday. The films averaged 55.2% on the Tomatometer. This year’s Top Ten grossed $105.1 Million over the three-day weekend, $127 million over the four-day, and averaged 60.1% on the Tomatometer.
Nearly nine years after the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy began, audiences get to see the story’s conclusion with How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. Expect it to top the box office next weekend and add to an international total that currently sits at $85 million. The first two films have grossed a worldwide total of $1.116 billion. Also expanding into wide release is Stephen Merchant’s Fighting with My Family, the story of WWE’s Paige that stars Florence Pugh. The film opened in just four theaters this weekend to $131,625, giving it the highest per-screen-average of the week ($32.906). Dwayne Johnson produced the film and has a two-scene cameo in the comedy/drama that stands at 88% on the Tomatometer after its “surprise screening” at Sundance in January.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]