In the movie Alita: Battle Angel, the titular hero tells us she “will not stand by in the presence of evil.”
Apparently, she won’t stand by in the presence of LEGOs, either.
Alita: Battle Angel hauled its collection of spare cyborg parts to the top of the box-office heap this weekend, collecting $27.8 million during the traditional Friday-through-Sunday time frame. It’ll likely stay on top for President’s Day, too. In fact, experts believe that by the time all the receipts are counted between Valentine’s Day (when Alita officially opened) and Monday, the dystopian actioner could clear $41 million.
Granted, that won’t be enough for writer/producer James Cameron to buy himself another yacht. He and his cohorts spent upwards of $170 million to make Alita. According to Box Office Mojo, the movie would need to gross at least $500 million worldwide just to break even. Still, Alita’s not quite the mega-bomb some prognosticators suspected it might be. In fact it, unlike almost everything else in theaters, actually overperformed a bit.
That’s probably the real takeaway from the weekend: how little this batch of movies took in at all. Just one year after the top 12 films playing over President’s Day weekend set an all-time record of $270 million (Thanks mostly to Black Panther, which made more than $200 million on its own), this weekend’s drowsy dozen will be clear about $110 million. That’s the slowest President’s Day weekend in 15 years.
The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part landed in second place behind Alita, dumping another $21.2 million into its own Bin of Stor-Aj. Its overall tally now stands at $62.7 million, and experts say it’ll likely pull down another $7 million or so on Presidents Day. That would bring its overall domestic take to around $70 million—or about what the first LEGO Movie did during its first weekend.
The rom-com satire Isn’t It Romantic collected a cold, cynical $14.2 million over its debut weekend. Add in the money it gathered up over Valentine’s Day (it opened on Wednesday), and the Rebel Wilson vehicle has chugged to $20.5 million overall—a rather chilly kiss on the hand by box-office standards. Everyone knows that cash is a rom-com’s best friend.
Oh, and since this is the last time we’ll convene here for box-office results before the Oscars telecast, let’s look at how the best picture nominees are faring financially.
Black Panther, naturally, leads the pack with its whopping $700.1 million (which makes it the third-biggest domestic release of all time behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Avatar, for those scoring at home). Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star Is Born both are bona fide hits, too, with $211.9 million and $209.8 million, respectively.
Most of the rest of the nominees have been fairly successful by art-house standards: Green Book has banked $65.8 million, BlacKkKlansman $48.7 million and Vice $46.1 million. Oddly, the two films that have garnered the most nominations—10 apiece—are bringing up the rear financially speaking, though one comes with an asterisk. The Favourite has made $31.1 million. Roma, meanwhile, is now playing on Netflix after a limited theatrical release (in order to qualify for Academy nominations), and the streaming company has not released any figures for that critically acclaimed film at all.