Fox's 'Alita' Leads Worst President's Day Weekend in 15 Years
by Brad Brevet
February 17, 2019
The three-day President's Day weekend last year saw the top twelve gross over $270 million, the bulk of which was due to the over $202 million three-day opening for Black Panther, accounting for nearly 74% of the combined top twelve gross. This year didn't have such a monster release, and while expectations were muted, the top twelve's combined $109.1 million makes for the worst three-day President's Day weekend since 2004.
Leading the charge was Fox's Alita: Battle Angel, delivering $27.8 million for the three-day. Elsewhere, while Universal's release of Blumhouse's Happy Death Day 2U fell short of expectations, it has already grossed more than its production budget and WB's release of New Line's Isn't It Romantic took advantage of Valentine's Day leading into the weekend and delivered a third place finish.
Fox's Alita: Battle Angel topped the weekend box office with ease, outperforming expectations and delivering an estimated $27.8 million over the three-day weekend with expectations to hit over $33 million for the four-day weekend. The result would push the film's five-day cume over $41 million, well ahead of the $30 million expectations for the film heading into the weekend. Of course, despite the film's over-performance, it still carries a lofty $170 million price tag with sources suggesting it needs to gross $500-550 million globally to break even, which, at this point, looks nearly impossible.
Internationally, Alita debuted in 11 markets last weekend and expanded to 86 total markets this weekend, delivering $56.1 million for an overseas cume that now stands at $94.3 million. Leading the way this weekend was the film's opening in Russia where it brought in $6.45 million followed by openings in France ($5.87m), Mexico ($4.18m), Australia ($2.97m), Germany ($2.96m), Thailand ($2.48m), Spain ($195m), UK ($1.8m), Vietnam ($1.5m) and Italy ($1.2m). The film's top market is South Korea where it added another $2.5 million this weekend for a cume that now totals $14.75 million. Alita will be releasing in China and Japan on February 22.
WB's The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part dipped -37.8% over the three-day and delivered an estimated $21.2 million, pushing the film's domestic cume to $62.7 million. The film is expected to do well on President's Day, looking at a four-day total topping $27 million and a domestic cume just shy of $70 million by end of day Monday. Internationally it added over $12 million this weekend from 69 markets for a global cume that is now just shy of $98 million with releases in France and Italy this coming week followed by a March 21 release in Australia.
Warner also landed in third place with the release of New Line's Isn't It Romantic starring Rebel Wilson. The film generated an estimated $14.2 million over the three-day and is expected to push toward $16.5 million for the four-day weekend. The result would give the film a $22-23 million six-day performance following its Wednesday debut. The film received a "B" CinemaScore and played to a crowd of which 80% were aged 25 and up.
Paramount's What Men Want landed in fourth place, dipping -40% in its sophomore session, delivering an estimated $10.9 million for the three-day and is expected to top $12.5 million for the four-day weekend, resulting in a domestic cume just shy of $38 million come end of day Monday. The film also added $2.2 million from six overseas markets this weekend for an early international cume totaling $2.5 million.
Rounding out the top five is Universal's release of Blumhouse Productions's Happy Death Day 2U, which brought in an estimated $9.8 million for the three-day weekend and is expected to deliver just over $11 million for the four-day weekend. After opening on Wednesday this would give the horror sequel a $15+ million six-day start, which is shy of the $20+ million expectations heading into its opening.
It's difficult to suss out just why the film fell short of expectations, as our research led us to believe industry expectations were mostly spot on. IMDb page view performance heading into the film's opening was a bit further down than we might have liked heading into release, but we chalked that up to sequels typically pacing behind their predecessors. Though, with even that being said, six-day expectations for the sequel were still well below the over $26 million the first film opened with over just three days. Of course, it's important to remember that this film is carrying just a $9 million budget. 2U received a "B" CinemaScore, matching its predecessor, while playing to a crowd that was 51% female and 41% were aged 25 and older.
Happy Death Day 2U also got its start internationally this weekend with $11.8 million in 41 markets, led by a $2.2 million performance in South Korea followed by France ($1m), Germany ($1m), UK & Ireland ($900k), Indonesia ($900k) and Spain ($500k). The film will open in Italy and Russia on February 28 followed by a July 12 release in Japan.
A couple milestones to note include Universal's Glass, which recently topped $100 million domestically, and WB's Aquaman, with a domestic gross over $331 million, has now topped Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to become the second highest grossing domestic release among films in the DC Extended Universe behind only Wonder Woman ($412.56m)
In limited release, MGM's Fighting with My Family debuted in four theaters this weekend ahead of its nationwide debut next weekend and brought in an estimated $131,625 for a strong, $32,906 per theater average.
Additional limited releases include Janus Films's re-release of War and Peace into one theater where the seven hour feature from Sergey Bondarchuk brought in an estimated $22,000. Oscilloscope debuted CatVideoFest 2019 at Chicago's Music Box Theatre, where it grossed an estimated $11,000 after just two screenings; Sony Classics debuted Ruben Brandt, Collector in 2 locations where it brought in an estimated $6,394 ($3,197 PTA) and Cinema Guild's Hotel by the River opened in one theater with an estimated $5,870.
Next weekend will see the wide release of Universal and DreamWorks Animation's How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World in over 4,000 locations. The film has been in release internationally for six weeks already, generating over $172 million from 49 markets and will arrive in theaters with expectations for a debut in line with its predecessors as Universal becomes the third different studio to release the film.
You can check out this weekend's three-day estimated results right here and we'll be updating our charts with four-day estimates tomorrow with full weekend actuals on Tuesday afternoon.
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