The North American box office had a remarkably quiet few days, producing the lowest grossing President’s Day weekend in fifteen years.
It wasn’t through lack of trying either, with three wide releases landing in cinemas nationwide. Ultimately, it was Alita: Battle Angel which took the top spot with a three-day haul just shy of $28 million. This is more than industry analysts expected for the picture and Robert Rodriguez’s highest opening weekend since 2005’s Sin City, but relative to Alita‘s sizable budget it’s a crushing disappointment.
The film has a price tag somewhere between $175-200 million, with an estimated break even point of $500 million after marketing costs. Without a bona fide miracle in China, the film doesn’t stand a chance of hitting that number, making it the first mega-budget casualty of the 2019 box office. It’s unfortunate but not very surprising. Western adaptations of popular manga properties rarely find an audience, while Rodriguez himself has always been something of a niche filmmaker.
This isn’t a great start to Rosa Salazar’s film career, although her performance has received praise from many critics so perhaps she can salvage something from this financial car crash.
The Lego Movie 2 held solidly in its second weekend, dropping just under 38 per cent and bringing in another $21 million. This by no means undoes the damage of its lackluster opening, with the film still far behind where its predecessor was at this point in its run. Before Warner Brothers gears up for their planned Lego Batman sequel and yet another spin-off movie, they may want to assess the sense of investing in a franchise that has been on a downward spiral since its second installment.
After years in the passenger seat, Rebel Wilson took the wheel in a romantic comedy with Isn’t It Romantic, which opened to just over $14 million. It’s a comparable figure to her previous work in the genre, namely 2016’s How To Be Single ($17 million), but isn’t going to be catching any headlines. Much like last week’s What Men Want, the film is likely to deliver a tidy little profit in theaters, before being relegated to a lifetime on streaming services.
Speaking of, the Taraji P. Henson remake also had a relatively gentle second week drop of around 40 per cent. What Men Want is now at a domestic total of $36 million and begins rolling out overseas next month.
Happy Death Day 2U was unleashed on audiences and significantly under-performed. The horror-comedy made just under $10 million across the three-day weekend, falling well short of the $26 million that the first film opened with. Maybe the slasher series should have stuck with its Halloween release date, rather than making a bid for Valentine’s Day audiences.
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The film will definitely turn a profit, owing to the characteristically minuscule budget of a Jason Blum production, but perhaps won’t see the third entry that it jokingly alludes to.
Outstandingly, for the fifth week running, Kevin Hart’s The Upside had one of the smallest drops in the top ten as it fell just 21 per cent. The film is now just a hair away from hitting a domestic total of $100 million, proving to be a much-needed course correct for Hart following his Oscar controversy at the end of 2018.
This is the top ten in full:
- (-) Alita: Battle Angel – $27.8 million
- (1) The Lego Movie 2 – $21.2 million
- (-) Isn’t It Romantic – $14.2 million
- (2) What Men Want – $10.9 million
- (-) Happy Death Day 2U – $9.8 million
- (3) Cold Pursuit – $6 million
- (4) The Upside – $5.5 million
- (5) Glass – $3.8 million
- (6) The Prodigy – $3.1 million
- (7) Green Book – $2.7 million