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North American Box Office Declines From Last Year With Weak Presidents Day Weekend

Alita: Battle Angel” easily won a tepid Presidents Day weekend with a $34.2 million at 3,790 North American locations, estimates showed Monday.

Overall domestic moviegoing for 2019 has plunged 22.1% to $1.24 billion as of Monday, according to Comscore. That’s $350 million below the same date a year ago and the lowest figure at this point of the year since 2011.

The decline stems from the lack of a major hit so far this year — and the fact that “Black Panther” had grossed $202 million in its first three days a year ago and $242 million during the Presidents Day weekend.

By comparison, 2019 racked up the worst Presidents Day weekend in 15 years. Fox’s “Alita” performed slightly above expectations, but the $170 million sci-fi tentpole will have to depend on international performance to become profitable. The James Cameron production, starring Rosa Salazar, generated 47% of its total from 3D locations.

Warner Bros.’ second weekend of “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” finished in the No. 2 spot with $27.3 million at 4,303 sites for an 11-day total of $68.8 million, followed by its moderate launch of Rebel Wilson’s “Isn’t It Romantic” with $16.6 million at 3,444 venues.

Paramount’s second weekend of “What Men Want” finished fourth with $12.6 million at 3,207 locations for an 11-day total of $37.8 million. Universal-Blumhouse’s slasher sequel “Happy Death Day 2U” followed with $11 million at 3,207 screens for a six-day total of $14.7 million. The second weekend of Liam Neeson’s “Cold Pursuit” took in $7 million, followed by the sixth weekend of “The Upside” with $6.6 million and the fifth frame of M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass” with $4.7 million.

“Glass” is the highest 2019 domestic grosser with $105.3 million after lofty pre-release estimates were tempered by poor reviews. STX-Lantern’s “The Upside” is the second highest, racking up $95 million after 39 days.

The upcoming Feb. 22-24 weekend will probably not close the gap with last year, since the year-ago weekend saw the second frame of “Black Panther” take in $111.6 million. Universal is launching “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.” The third iteration of the animated franchise has already taken in $172 million internationally. MGM will also go into a nationwide release of its Dwayne Johnson comedy “Fighting With My Family,” which took in a solid $200,596 at four venues in its first five days.

Salvation will start to arrive on March 8, when Disney-Marvel opens Brie Larson’s “Captain Marvel.” Early estimates have pegged the latest Marvel tentpole with at least $100 million in its opening weekend. Massive grosses are expected when Disney-Marvel launches “Avengers: Endgame” on April 26.

“As the year-to-date deficit keeps growing, so does the need for a breakout hit to get us out of the box office doldrums and inject some much needed momentum and excitement into the marketplace,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with Comscore. “Thankfully there are big titles on the way and this downturn in a few weeks will be a distant memory as a box office superhero waits in the wings to help save the day.”

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