“Alita: Battle Angel” is leading a trio of new releases at the domestic box office. Fox’s sci-fi action adventure earned $2.4 million in Wednesday previews and is expected to earn $22 million over the weekend and $30 million during its first five days of release.
Like “Alita,” Universal and Warner Bros. both opted to get a head start on a crowded President’s Day holiday weekend by opening “Happy Death Day 2U” and “Isn’t It Romantic” on Wednesday. Warner Bros.’ “Isn’t It Romantic” picked up $1.8 million on its first day of release. The satirical rom-com is expected to make $14 million over the three-day frame and $22 million during the long weekend. Meanwhile, Universal and Blumhouse’s “Happy Death Day” sequel pocketed $1 million on Wednesday and is now eyeing $17 million during the weekend and $30 million over its first six days of release.
“Alita: Battle Angel” has a lot riding on this weekend. The film carries a hefty $170 million production budget thanks to lavish use of CGI, so the cyberpunk action adventure will have a long journey in theaters before it can end up in the black. If Wednesday previews are any indication, “Alita” looks to be on a better-than-expected track at the box office, despite tepid reviews. Directed by Robert Rodriguez and produced and co-written by James Cameron, “Alita: Battle Angel” stars Rosa Salazar as a cyborg with a mysterious past. The cyberpunk action adventure, based on popular Japanese manga, had a solid start overseas last weekend where it earned $32 million from 11 international territories.
Fox originally planned to release “Alita” in December, but pushed back its opening to avoid a competitive Christmas season. Since the film’s target audience is younger kids, the studio is hoping the long President’s Day weekend will help as students are off from school on Monday.
“Isn’t It Romantic” is another title banking on the holidays to become a breakout. Starring Rebel Wilson and Liam Hemsworth, Warner Bros. and New Line are hoping the rom-com will resonate around Valentine’s Day. Todd Strauss-Schulson directed the movie about a woman whose life begins to play out like a romantic comedy after getting hit on the head.
The final new release, “Happy Death Day 2U,” is falling slightly behind its predecessor, 2017’s “Happy Death Day” in terms of its opening weekend haul. The original movie launched with $26 million and went on to earn $125 million worldwide. The low-budget slasher film once again follows a woman (Jessica Rothe) who finds herself reliving the same day on a loop after being murdered by a masked killer. This time around, her friends are also targets.