“Alita: Battle Angel” dominated North American moviegoing on Valentine’s Day with a first-day launch of $8.7 million at 3,790 locations, including previews.
Fox’s science-fiction actioner, produced by James Cameron and directed by Robert Rodriguez, is expected to wind up in the $37 million range during its first five days of release through Presidents Day on Monday. That’s above recent forecasts, which had pegged “Alita” for a $30 million debut.
“Alita: Battle Angel” is a costly bet for Fox, given its $170 million production budget. Rosa Salazar stars as a cyborg with a mysterious past. The film, based on popular Japanese manga, had a solid start overseas last weekend, where it earned $32 million from 11 international territories.
New Line’s “Isn’t It Romantic” pulled in $4.4 million on Valentine’s Day for a two-day total of $6.2 million at 3,444 sites. Rebel Wilson’s satirical comedy, which opened on Wednesday, should wind up with around $20 million to $23 million by the end of the holiday weekend.
Taraji P. Henson’s gender-bender comedy “What Men Want” came in third on Valentine’s Day with $3.2 million at 2,912 venues for a first-week haul of $25.2 million.
Universal-Blumhouse’s “Happy Death Day 2U” followed in fourth with $2.7 million at 3,207 locations on Thursday for a two-day take of $3.7 million. The slasher sequel, starring Jessica Rothe as a young woman who once again finds herself living the same day over and over again, is heading for a modest tally in the $10 million to $12 million range by the end of Presidents Day.
“Happy Death Day 2U” is a low-risk project, given its $9 million price tag. The 2017 original was highly profitable with $125 million in worldwide box office.
Warner Bros.’ “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” finished fifth on Valentine’s Day with $2.2 million at 4,303 screens, giving the animated comedy $40.9 million for its first week.
Overall domestic box office has lagged 2018 and the total for the year is down nearly 17% as of Feb. 13 at $1.05 billion, according to Comscore.