The first How To Train Your Dragon remains one of the five biggest word-of-mouth sensations ever to open in March in over 2,500 theaters. Then How To Train Your Dragon 2 opened just a bit better than its predecessor in the summer of 2014. This weekend, the final chapter of the animated trilogy is living up to all the expectations its predecessors have set.
How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World maintains the strong critical support of the series, registering a 91% on the Tomatometer compared to the first two’s 98% & 92%, respectively. The 2010 original opened to $43.7 million and finished with $217.5 million (a 4.97 multiple) and the 2014 sequel started with $49.4 million and ended with $177 million (a 3.57 multiple.) The Hidden World was expected to gross somewhere in-between that range but instead defied the tracking services and made $55.5 million over the weekend. That is the eighth best opening ever in February, the second for an animated film behind The Lego Movie’s $69 million start, and the biggest opening of 2019 until Captain Marvel opens in two weeks. And with a production budget that has shrunk from $165 to $145 to $129 million, The Hidden World is going to be the most profitable film in the series.
How To Train Your Dragon was not the only film to register over 90% on the Tomatometer this weekend, but audiences just were not swayed to attend Fighting with My Family. The Stephen Merchant wrestling dramedy opened to just $8 million after a four-theater limited stint last week produced $138,780. The selling of Dwayne Johnson’s two-scene cameo (as himself) and a “surprise” screening at Sundance to build buzz a month ago was not enough to get it into eight digits.
While box office analysts have been fighting the good fight for Alita: Battle Angel all week, this weekend’s numbers tell a much different story. Sure it is important to watch the international dollars flow in – and they are to the current tune of nearly $104 million – but as I mentioned here last week anything under $100 million domestic means it is unlikely to break even. Of the 16 films with an opening weekend between $28-29 million, Alita’s $12 million is the second lowest second weekend ever, ahead of only last year’s Pacific Rim: Uprising. Thanks to an extra day on the schedule and previews on Jan. 31, Alita is just about even with Uprising total’s $60.3 million gross but it is getting nowhere close to $100 million here in the U.S. and is still going to need around $350 million to get out of the red.
By tomorrow, The Upside should hit the $100 million mark as it continues to chase Glass, which at $107.9 million appears will finish south of The Village’s $114 million. The Lego Movie 2 is not there yet, but it will be despite its final estimates being downgraded to the $120 million range rather than $130. Ralph Breaks the Internet will be hitting $200 million domestic this week and it has cleared over $514 million worldwide.
It’s going to take What Men Want and Isn’t It Romantic to pool their resources to reach $100 million. Both Cold Pursuit and Happy Death Day 2U are going to come in somewhere around $30 million each. Roadside Attractions’ Run the Race (40% at RT) made it into the Top Ten with $2.27 million. Finally, Peter Jackson’s WWI documentary, They Shall Not Grow Old, has now grossed $16.4 million, now more than what Mortal Engines made in its theatrical run.
Black Panther was going nowhere from the #1 spot with $111.6 million, which was the second highest second weekend of all time behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens. That was until Avengers: Infinity War came along a few months later and knocked it back to third. Ryan Coogler’s film passed the $400 million mark in just its tenth day. Opening against it were two films that have already begun to stand the test of time. Game Night (84%) opened in second to $17 million and Alex Garland’s Annihiliation (88%) was fourth with $11 million. Those films helped raise the average of the Top Ten on the Tomatometer to 61.5% as they grossed $177 million. This year’s Top Ten grossed $112.0 And averaged 66.1% on the Tomatometer.
Tyler Perry returns with his first directorial effort in four months with A Madea Family Funeral. Perry has not cracked the $50 million mark since 2016 but when his most famous character appears in the title those films have averaged a $26.7 million opening and a final gross of $63.6 million. Focus is also going wide with Neil Jordan’s latest, Greta. The 2018 Toronto Film Festival premiere has a 71% on the Tomatometer and is Jordan’s first wide release since 2007’s The Brave One.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]