After being projected to open at less than $30M, Twentieth Century Fox’s Robert Rodriguez-directed and James Cameron-produced Alita: Battle Angel (read our review) overperformed with an estimated $41M through this extended weekend in North America. What’s important are the international numbers, which added another $60M for a global total of $135M through the holiday. Even better, Alita opens in both Japan and China next weekend with it tracking to break $50M in the latter territory. The film’s budget is reportedly between $150M-$200M, which means Alita needs to battle her way to, at the very least, $500M worldwide to break even. Fans hoping for a sequel will have to wait and see how this all unfolds over the next few weeks.
While Alita topped projections, Universal Pictures/Blumhouse’s Happy Death Day 2U (read our review) saw diminishing returns and underperformed. Early tracking pegged the Happy Death Day sequel, also directed by Christopher Landon, to open with $30M. Early estimates have it sitting at only $13.5M here in the States, half that of its predecessor. It added another $11.8 million internationally for a $25.3M global opening. Even though the sci-fi slasher underperformed, it’s still likely that this sequel will be heavily profitable being that the budget is reported to be a mere $9M. We can start discussing a trilogy when this tops $35M globally, which should be by the end of next weekend.
Orion Pictures’ return to the big screen The Prodigy (read our review) continues to limp its way through a release. After a weak $6M opening, the film is currently sitting at $11M domestically. Thankfully, the budget is reported at only $6M, which means it needs $20M (give or take) globally to break even. We’re still waiting for international numbers.
I’m often asked why these box office numbers matter to us. They don’t, really, although a film’s success or failure can impact our fandom. For example, fans of Alita have been waiting years for this adaptation. In my opinion, Fox played a dangerous game with the Star War-sized budget and now, if the film is a failure, fans will be the ones who lose. On the other side of the spectrum is Blumhouse, who produces films in the $5-10M range and possesses the strong distribution arm of Universal Pictures. All of their releases are set up for success, and even in the case of a film underperforming, like Happy Death Day 2U, there’s still a chance for yet another sequel. What does it all mean? Again, nothing really, although hardcore cinephiles are always rooting not only for a film to be good but for it to also be successful. I don’t see anything wrong with that.