Fox’s “Alita: Battle Angel” is No. 1 at the box office for this extended Presidents’ Day weekend, but the sci-fi blockbuster and other films currently in theaters are doing little to relieve the extended drought that has kicked off the 2019 moviegoing calendar.
Last year, the combined 4-day total for the extended weekend was a record $345.8 million, thanks in large part to “Black Panther,” which became the biggest pre-summer release ever with an opening of $242 million. No film this weekend was expected to even come close to matching that, but the industry estimated $141.3 million combined total is on pace to become the lowest 4-day total for Presidents’ Day weekend since 2000 ($133.6 million).
As for “Alita,” it is beating box office expectations with a $32 million weekend total from 3,790 screens and a 5-day opening of $41 million after pre-weekend projections estimated a $30 million launch. With a $150-170 million budget, the film still faces a long road to getting out of the red, but is enjoying strong word of mouth with an A- on CinemaScore despite a 59 percent Rotten Tomatoes score.
Next weekend will provide a clearer picture of how “Alita” will turn out at the box office, as it opens in Japan and China, while domestic moviegoer interest will be tested in its second weekend. The film is estimated for a $50 million opening in China.
In second is Warner Bros.’ “The Lego Movie 2,” which is holding decently with an estimated $27 million 4-day total. The 3-day total of $20 million is a 40 percent drop from the animated film’s $34 million opening, but with a total of $68.5 million, the film is 36 percent behind the pace of 2017’s “The Lego Batman Movie.”
In third is WB/New Line’s “Isn’t It Romantic,” which opened on Wednesday and is estimated for a $16.8 million 4-day opening and a 6-day opening of $23 million from 3,444 screens, hitting the top end of tracker projections. The Rebel Wilson satire has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 68 percent.
In fourth is Paramount’s “What Men Want,” which is making $12.5 million in its second weekend for a total of $37.7 million. In a surprise turn, that film is beating out the third new release of the weekend, Universal/Blumhouse’s “Happy Death Day 2U,” which is opening to a weekend total of $11.4 million and a 6-day opening of $15 million.
While the sequel to the 2017 Halloween horror film has already made back its $9 million budget, it is opening to roughly half the $28-29 million 6-day opening trackers predicted. Audiences and critics have been mixed on the sequel’s more comedic approach to the premise of people forced to relive the day they are murdered on repeat, as the film has a 66 percent Rotten Tomatoes score and a B on CinemaScore.
Universal will have another chance at box office success next weekend with the release of DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” which is projected to open in the high $40 million range. But for the box office as a whole, the doldrums will continue until the release of “Captain Marvel” on March 8. As the lead-in to the highly anticipated “Avengers: Endgame,” “Captain Marvel” is projected for an opening of at least $120 million.