'How to Train Your Dragon 3' Looks to End February on a High Note
SATURDAY AM UPDATE: Universal's release of DreamWorks Animation's How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is off to a great start, bringing in an estimated $17.49 million on Friday, heading toward what could be a $60+ million debut, well ahead of expectations. The opening would also serve as the largest opening in the How to Train Your Dragon franchise by a wide margin, not to mention the largest opening of 2019 so far. The film received an "A" CinemaScore from opening day audiences.

MGM's Fighting with My Family brought in an estimated $2.55 million on Friday and is expected to deliver a three-day anywhere from $7.5-8 million.

You can check out all of the Friday estimates right here and we'll be back tomorrow morning with a complete look at the weekend.

FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Universal Pictures's release of DreamWorks Animation's How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is off to a solid start, bringing in $3 million from Thursday previews in 3,200 theaters with showtimes beginning at 6PM. The performance does not include the $2.5 million from the exclusive Fandango event earlier this month and doubles the $1.5 million in previews for The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, not to mention outperforms preview grosses for The LEGO Batman Movie ($2.2 million), How to Train Your Dragon 2 ($2 million), Zootopia ($1.7 million) and The Boss Baby ($1.5 million).

We'll take a closer look at things tomorrow morning once Friday estimates come in. For now you can check out our weekend preview below.

WEEKEND PREVIEW: The winter box office season is nearing an end, serving as good news for what has been a rather rough start to 2019. Fortunately, before all eyes turn to March and Captain Marvel and Us, it would appear one of the final new wide releases of the season is looking to close things out on a high note as Universal debuts How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, their first DreamWorks Animation release since acquiring the animation studio in 2016 for $3.8 billion. The film is already off to a strong start internationally since releasing overseas seven weeks ago and is now looking to keep the momentum domestically. Also going wide this weekend is MGM's Fighting with My Family, after a limited debut last weekend, and Roadside is debuting Run the Race in moderate release.

At a reported $129 million, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World carries the lightest budget of the three films in the animated franchise, and it looks as if it will see a debut weekend within the vicinity of its two predecessors. Universal is the third studio to release a film in the How to Train Your Dragon franchise with Paramount's original release back in 2010 launching with $43.7 million before going on to gross over $217 million domestically and nearly $495 million worldwide. Fox took over for the sequel in 2014, which didn't live up to its predecessor domestically, debuting with $49.5 million and grossing over $177 million stateside, but the film exploded worldwide with $621.5 million.

To that point, The Hidden World has already grossed over $181 million internationally from 49 markets, of which it debuted at #1 in 40 of them and delivered the largest openings in the series in 39 of those markets. This weekend it will add nine additional international markets to go along with its domestic release, including Russia and Spain, with debuts in China (3/1) and Japan (8/23) still to come.

As for its domestic bow, the film already has $2.5 million in its domestic coffers thanks to an advanced screening partnership with Fandango.com that took place on February 2. The sneak performance nearly doubled the $1.3 million in ticket sales from Amazon Prime's partnership with Sony prior to the launch of Hotel Transylvania 3, which went on to debut with $44 million last July.

That said, Hidden World will open in 4,259 theaters from which the studio is anticipating an opening around $40 million. Based on what we're seeing that would be the low end with our research pointing more toward a debut anywhere from $43-45 million. Comps we're focused on include Cars 3 ($53.7m opening) and Kung Fu Panda 3 ($41.3m opening), compared to which we're seeing Hidden World pacing behind Cars 3, while slightly out-pacing Kung Fu Panda 3 when looking at IMDb page views over the two weeks leading up to release. All of this has us forecasting a $44 million debut this weekend.

Following a debut performance that topped expectations, Fox's Alita: Battle Angel enters its sophomore frame as something of a question mark. It received a solid "A-" CinemaScore from opening day crowds and the audience score on RottenTomatoes is a strong 94% to go along with a solid 7.6/10 rating from IMDb users. The question here is whether it can continue to over perform. Based on what we're seeing historically, a best case scenario looks like a drop around -48% or so this weekend and a $14.8 million three-day performance for a domestic cume topping $63 million by the end of the weekend. That, however, is based primarily on its three-day performance over the three-day holiday weekend, of which it got a jump start on the Thursday prior, what kind of effect that has on its performance this weekend will be something to watch.

WB's The LEGO Movie 2 is looking at a third place finish as we're left to wonder just how much of a bite How to Train Your Dragon will take out of its third weekend potential. The LEGO film debuted well below expectations and looks as if it is likely to continue its slide as we anticipate a drop around -45% this weekend and a three-day around $11.5 million. Should our forecast hold we're anticipating a cumulative total topping $85 million.

Fourth place is where we find MGM's expansion of Fighting with My Family, which the studio debuted in four locations last week with a weekend per theater average reaching $34,695. This weekend the film expands into 2,711 theaters with industry expectations anticipating a performance around $8-10 million. Based on historical performances and a look at IMDb page view performance leading up to release we're anticipating a performance on the higher end of that range, if not potentially popping even higher thanks to a strong, "A" CinemaScore and a 93% score on RottenTomatoes.

Rounding out the top five is WB and New Line's Isn't It Romantic, which delivered on expectations last weekend and should dip around -43% or so this weekend for a $8+ million three-day and a cume approaching $35 million by the end of the weekend.

Elsewhere in the top ten, STXFilms's The Upside will be looking to top $100 million by the end of this weekend if it can deliver a three-day drop around -34% or so. Right now we anticipate it just barely making the grade with a $3.6 million three-day.

The weekend's final new "wide" release is actually more of a moderate debut in Roadside's release of the Tim Tebow-produced football drama Run the Race. The film will open in 854 locations and it wouldn't be at all a shock to see it land a spot in the top ten, possibly taking in $2-3 million this weekend.

In limited release Fox International will debut Total Dhamaal in 202 locations.

This weekend's forecast is directly below. This post will be updated on Friday morning with Thursday night preview results followed by Friday estimates on Saturday morning, and a complete weekend recap on Sunday morning.

  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (4,259 theaters) - $44.0 M
  • Alita: Battle Angel (3,820 theaters) - $14.8 M
  • The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (3,833 theaters) - $11.4 M
  • Fighting with My Family (2,711 theaters) - $10.0 M
  • Isn't It Romantic (3,444 theaters) - $8.1 M
  • What Men Want (2,389 theaters) - $6.3 M
  • Happy Death Day 2U (3,212 theaters) - $4.5 M
  • The Upside (2,148 theaters) - $3.6 M
  • Cold Pursuit (2,320 theaters) - $3.3 M
  • Glass (1,440 theaters) - $2.3 M

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