‘How to Train Your Dragon 3’ Set to Breathe $45 Million of Box Office Fire

Trilogy finale is first DreamWorks Animation release under Universal’s ownership

Universal has already found box office success in the animation sphere with “Despicable Me” and Illumination Entertainment. Now its stable of animated titles is about to expand with the release of “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” the conclusion to the Oscar-nominated dragon trilogy and the first DreamWorks Animation film released by Universal since it purchased the studio three years ago.

Independent trackers are projecting an opening for the three-quel of around $45 million, with Universal projecting an opening of $40 million.

That would be fairly consistent for this series, as “How to Train Your Dragon” opened to $43.7 million when Paramount released it in March 2010, and its Fox-released sequel opened to $49.4 million in summer 2014.

Even if “The Hidden World” underperforms as “The Lego Movie 2” did two weekends ago, it has a much bigger following overseas than the toy-based series.

While domestic totals for “How to Train Your Dragon 2” dropped 19 percent compared to the first film, it grossed $621 million worldwide compared to its predecessor’s $494 million. “Hidden World” is showing similar legs overseas, as it has already opened in 49 international markets, earning the biggest opening in the series history in 39 of them and grossing $175 million so far.

“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” tells the final chapter of the tale of the dragon Toothless and his rider Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), who now rules the land of Berk alongside fellow rider Astrid (America Ferrera).

Series creator Dean DeBlois returns as writer-director, with Cate Blanchett, Kit Harington, Craig Ferguson, Gerard Butler, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Kristen Wiig providing voices. Critics have hailed the film as a strong capstone to the series, giving it a 96 percent Rotten Tomatoes score.

Also releasing this weekend is MGM/WWE Films’ “Fighting With My Family,” which is going wide after a four-screen limited release last weekend. The biopic grossed $200,596 over Presidents’ Day weekend and is now projected to open to $7 million.

Directed by Stephen Merchant and produced by Dwayne Johnson — who also appears in the film as The Rock — “Fighting With My Family” stars Florence Pugh as Saraya “Paige” Bevis, a teen girl raised in a family of pro wrestlers in England who goes on to become a three-time champion in WWE and the youngest person in the company’s history to earn a title belt.

Jack Lowden, Nick Frost, Lena Headey and Vince Vaughn also star in the film, which has a 92 percent Rotten Tomatoes score.