Alita: Battle Angel tops the US box office

2019-02-18 10:53
Alita, voiced by Rosa Salazar, in a scene from Ali

Los Angeles — The sci-fi fantasy Alita: Battle Angel topped the charts and beat out a number of newcomers including the meta romantic comedy Isn't It Romantic and the horror sequel Happy Death Day 2U in its first weekend in theatres, but it is a victory with a few caveats. 

20th Century Fox said on Sunday that the James Cameron-produced film earned an estimated $27.8m over the weekend against a reported $170m budget, which includes cost-saving tax incentives and rebates. It's made $36.5m total since its debut on Thursday.

Robert Rodriguez directed the future-set film starring Rosa Salazar as a cyborg with no memory of her past. Critics were mixed on the results, and it's become just the latest pricey and ambitious non-Star Wars, non-Marvel or DC sci-fi film to do less-than-stellar business at the box office, the last being the Peter Jackson-produced Mortal Engines.

It is quite a tumble (56.4 percent) from last year's record Presidents Day box office when Black Panther grossed $202m over the three-day weekend and propelled the industry total to $286.6m. The weekend has in recent years been host to the openings of high earners from Deadpool to Fifty Shades of Grey. This year, total weekend earnings amount to only $125m.

The rest of the charts remained fairly lacklustre as well. Last week's champ, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, fell 38 percent in its second weekend earning $21.2m, bringing its total to $62.7m — which is less than the first film earned in its opening weekend.

Warner Bros. also had the No. 3 movie this weekend with its meta-romantic-comedy Isn't It Romantic, starring Rebel Wilson as a woman who bonks her head and wakes up in a rom-com. It debuted to $14.2m and has earned $20.5m since its opening earlier in the week.

The other romantic comedy offering in theatres, What Men Want, with Taraji P. Henson, landed in fourth place in its second weekend with $10.9m. And Happy Death Day 2 U, the horror sequel from Blumhouse and Universal, rounded out the top five with $9.8m. The first film opened over twice as high, with over $26m, but with a production budget under $10m, it's still bound for success.

The Dwayne Johnson wrestling film Fighting With My Family also opened in four theatres on Wednesday, earning $131 625 over the weekend.

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