Box Office Wrap Up: Alita Rules President’s Day Wasteland.
We had our own dystopian vision this weekend as the box office crumbled over the holiday weekend.
As has been the case lately, there was good news and there was bad news. Really bad news. The good news is that Alita delivered well above predictions. The really bad news is that those predictions were essentially made by a guy wearing a sandwich board reading “The End is Nigh”! 2019 continues to struggle. While individual films have found silver linings, there’ve been just too many clouds hanging over the box office.
This Week in Box Office History.
This year’s President’s Day weekend has the distinction of having the worst earnings of the new century. If you look at the top 12 movies (why not top ten, who knows, I don’t make the rules!) you have to go back to 2004 to see numbers this bad (109 million in 2019, 105 in 2004). If you look at the total box office, you have to go back to 2000 to equal the travesty (120 million versus 83 million.) That means the rest of the box office is taking a beating outside of the top 12.
We’re also seeing a drop off in the #1 spot, as Alita took in roughly 30 million dollars compared to Black Panther’s 200 million (2018), Deadpool‘s 132 million (2016), and 50 Shades of Grey’s 85 million (2015). President’s Day is by no means a dead weekend; 2019 is just shaping up to be a dead winter.
Top Film Last Year: Black Panther (duh.)
Top Film Last Decade: Friday the 13th  (duh.)
Top Three Films.
Alita arose from the wreckage to claim the top spot. It took in 28 million dollars over the three day weekend, 43 million when you add the holiday and early Wednesday premier. That’s a bit better than early projections in the low 20’s, and it sits at 137 million worldwide. Luckily, that total doesn’t yet include Japan and China, which could provide a much needed boost. It’s critical score was middling but has been improving, and it has been getting high praise from audiences (93% on Rotten Tomatoes, A- on Cinemascore.)
Second place went to The LEGO Movie 2, which also had a rocky start in its premier last week. It added 21 million to its domestic take, making for a worldwide tally of 103 million dollars.
The final spot in the top three went to another new film, Isn’t It Romantic. At 14 million dollars, the Rebel Wilson led comedy underperformed slightly based on projections and historical numbers for her comedies.
Our last wide release, Happy Death Day 2U, also stumbled out of the gate. At just under 10 million dollars, it was well short of the first film’s 26 million dollar debut. It also lagged early forecasts. The good news (besides the fact that we loved it in our review) is that the film already covered its 9 million dollar budget. As Nate said, the sequel was playing with house money from the get go.
Tenth place saw Green Book hold on with just one week left till the Oscars. So far, Green Book is the only film to see any significant boost from the nominations, and has been the only nom in the top ten for quite some time. When we talk about the rest of the field underperforming, you can lay much of that blame on the lackluster response towards the best film nominees. That bodes particularly ill for viewership of the 91st Academy Awards.