Box Office: ALITA Squeaks Out a Presidents Day Win … HAPPY DEATH DAY 2 U Bombs

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AlitaBoxOfficeWrapUp

Welcome to the Beat’s Weekend Box Office Wrap-Up!

Part of what I’ll do Monday mornings is to not only look at how various movies fared but also give some brief analysis of why some movies did better or worse than expected, or at least the ones we can figure out.

Although Presidents Day weekend has offered up a lot of big hits over the years — such as last year with Black Panther‘s  $242 million four-day opening weekend —  this past weekend was one of the worst showings for the holiday weekend since 2001.

The James Cameron-produced Alita: Battle Angel, based on the Manga by Yukito Kirhiro, wasn’t expecting to do particularly well over President’s Day weekend, yet it still opened at #1 over both of the other two movies, Isn’t It Romantic and Happy Death Day 2 U.

Starring Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz and Jennifer Connelly, the Robert Rodriguez-directed action movie took in $8.7 million on its opening Thursday (including money from previews and events) then grossed an estimated $28.2 million over the three-day weekend, which is more than what many (including myself) predicted for the four days.

With Monday added in, Alita made $43 million in its extended opening week (Thursday through Monday), which isn’t a lot when you consider the reported $170 million budget. Fortunately, the movie has made another $94 million overseas, not even including China and Japan, both of which should be big markets for the movie.

Alita also knocked Warner Bros’ The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Chapter down to second place after just one weekend at #1.  The animated sequel took in an estimated $27.3 million over the four-day weekend, bringing its 11-day total to $69 million, a far cry from the $142.7 million the original movie grossed in the same period five years ago.

The other two new wide releases opened a day earlier than Alita with Isn’t It Romantic taking in $1.8 million on Wednesday and another $4.4 million on Valentine’s Day Thursday. The romantic-comedy parody starred Rebel Wilson and Adam Devine from the Pitch Perfect movies, as well as Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games). The boost it got from Valentine’s Day was carried through to the weekend where Isn’t It Romantic took third place with roughly $16.6 million over the four-day weekend. Its domestic gross from Wednesday through Monday is $22.9 million.

The Taraji P. Henson comedy What Men Want (Paramount) took fourth place with $12.4 million over the four-day weekend ($10.7 million over the three days), bringing its total to $35.9 million in eleven days. Having cost just $20 million, the comedy should end up being profitable.

The biggest “What Happened?” of the weekend has to be Universal and Blumhouse’s Happy Death Day 2 U, the sequel to a high-concept horror movie that did far less than anyone expected. In fact, it ended up with less than $10 million over the 3-day weekend, less than half what I thought it could do over the four-day weekend after making just $3.7 million on Wednesday and Thursday. Starring Jessica Rothe as a co-ed plagued by reliving the same day over and over, each day ending with her death, the movie ended up with just $14.7 million in its opening week, far less than the $26 million made by the original movie in 2017.

Although the sequel was decent, the marketing might have been the film’s undoing since it made the movie look like it was exactly the same as the first movie, even though it went more into Back to the Future territory from the original movie’s Groundhog’s Day roots. Still, when a movie received mixed reactions (with a “B” CinemaScore from audiences), it’s difficult to convince moviegoers to pay to see what they deem to be the same movie a second time.

Fortunately, the Blumhouse’s cautious spending should once again pay off, since Happy Death Day 2 U only cost $9 million to make, roughly double the cost of the original movie, so it’s still likely to be profitable from the domestic box office alone.

Liam Neeson’s Cold Pursuit took sixth place with $7 million and $22.1 million total.

STXfilms’ The Upside, starring Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart, continues to have one of the most impressive holds of the year, as it edges closer to $100 million with $95.2 million grossed through Monday. It took seventh place this weekend with $6.6 million over the 4-day weekend.

On top of that, MGM’s Fighting with My Family opened in four theaters in New York and L.A. with $166,322 or about $41,000 per theater, which isn’t great but also isn’t terrible. The $200 million made so far by the WWE Films co-production shows that there’s enough interest for it to expand wider, which it will do this coming Friday.

This Week’s Top 10 (all 4-day estimates):

Rank Last Week Rank Movie Studio Weekend Gross % Change Total Gross
1 New Alita: Battle Angel 20th Century Fox $34.3 million N/A $43 million
2 1 The LEGO Movie 2 Warner Bros. $27.3 million -20% $68.8 million
3 New Isn’t It Romantic New Line $16.6 million N/A $22.9 million
4 2 What Men Want Paramount $12.4 million -32% $37.6 million
5 N/A Happy Death Day 2 U Universal $11 million N/A $14.7 million
6 3 Cold Pursuit Summit / Lionsgate $7 million -36.5% $22.1 million
7 4 The Upside STXfilms $6.6 million -7.4% $95.2 million
8 5 Glass Universal $4.7 million -26% $105.3 million
9 6 The Prodigy Orion $3.6 million -38% $11.5 million
10 7 Green Book Universal $3.5 million +1% $66.5 million

Because Black Panther made $242 million on its own last year, the box office was obviously down quite significantly this weekend, the top 10 grossing less than $130 million over the four days.

Come back on Wednesday for the week’s Box Office Preview for How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Happy Death Day 2 U only cost $9M to make, the cost of about one day’s filming on Aquaman or Avengers: Endgame. It will probably go into profit this weekend.

  2. I thought Happy Death Day 2 U was great. The first film set up the basic premise and the second one took the ball and ran with it. Super smart and funny one of those rare instances where the sequel is better than the original.

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