How to Train Your Dragon 3 Flies Up to No. 1

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It’s been a slow year thus far at the box office. The LEGO Movie 2 underperformed. Alita: Battle Angel staggered. We’re nearly done with February, and the only film to crack $100 million in North America has been M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass—and it needed a whole month to do so. Last year, Black Panther earned twice that in its first weekend.

But the wait is over. The year’s first real hit is here. And it proved that the How to Train Your Dragon franchise sure isn’t … toothless.

Well, technically, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World had plenty of Toothless, given that’s the name of the movie’s primary dragon. But you get my drift. The third and reportedly last film in the How to Train Your Dragon series scaled the movie industry’s monetary cliffs and planted itself as this weekend’s box-office Alpha. It earned $55.5 million according to early prognostications, more than quadrupling the take of its nearest competitor. It also set a high-water mark for the franchise itself: The original How to Train Your Dragon opened with $43.7 million, while the sequel earned $49.5 million in its first weekend. I know that the makers have said that this closes the book on the saga of Hiccup and Toothless, but it’s rare for Hollywood to turn its back on a rare franchise that’s trending up.

Last week’s champ, Alita: Battle Angel, fell to second place, pocketing a mere $12 million. The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, dropped to third with $10 million.

Fighting with My Family, another newish release (it technically opened two weekends agao, but played in only four theaters), pinned down No. 4. It notched $8 million to push it just ahead of fifth-place Isn’t It Romantic. The Rebel Wilson romcom earned $7.5 million during its second weekend outing.

Before we leave you, another film to note: Run the Race, a Christian film produced by sports celebrity Tim Tebow, finished 10th with $2.3 million. No great shakes you say? Given that it opened in fewer than 900 theaters (compared to the 3,000-4,000 theaters that most blockbusters snag), it did quite respectfully, thank you very much.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous 26 days ago
Sorry forgot to mention that I absolutely hated the first Kung Fu Panda so never in a million years wanted to see any of the sequels, but I actually really liked Will Smith's Shark Tale, Monster's vs. Aliens, The Boss Baby, and Home.
Anonymous 26 days ago
I love the Shrek films, except for number two. Madagascar: Escape to Africa was the only good one in that franchise. The first How to Train Your Dragon film was okay I guess, but the second one stunk. Rise of the Guardians is one of my favorite Christian Christmas movies. Bee Movie is actually very sweet and funny with cool animation. Mr. Peabody, Megamind, and Over the Hedge are all pretty bad in my opinion. And frankly The Prince of Egypt doesn't hold a candle to Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments. I'm a much bigger fan of Illumination and Blue Sky personally, where the only so-so movie they came up with was Sing. The Despicable Me/Minions franchise, the Ice Age franchise, both Rio movies, and the wonderfully cute Secret Life of Pets are as good as anything DreamWorks has come up with.
Anonymous 27 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

So Plugged In deleted my comment just because I said I generally don’t like DreamWorks movies? That’s almost as bad as Rotten Tomatoes removing disinterested opinions on seeing Captain Marvel!
Anonymous 27 days ago
Lol. I thought that was hilarious.They removed mine too. 
-David the Clown
Anonymous 27 days ago
It's a bad opinion, Chad.
Anonymous 27 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I dislike movies that are usually stuffed with rude humor, pop culture references, and not much else. 

How is that a bad opinion?
Anonymous 27 days ago
Because that’s not all they are, and your judgement is very wrong. The first two Shrek movies are very good and critically acclaimed, and the reason the last two failed has nothing to do with pop culture or rude humour. You’re also overlooking the KFP movies, the HTTYD movies, Prince of Egypt—all their hand drawn movies actually, Over the Hedge, Megamind, Rise of the Guardians, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, and others, none of which are stuffed with rude humour or pop culture references. It sounds to me like you watched Bee Movie and decided to judge the entire pantheon of DreamWorks films by that, and that’s why it’s a bad opinion, Chester. Sorry.
Anonymous 27 days ago
Oh also, same anon as above: pop culture references can be very good if done right. Case in point: the Madagascar films, which are stuffed to the brim with hilarious, clever references. I understand if that zany energy isn’t your cup of tea, but can you just recognize that that doesn’t make those movies BAD? Because... it doesn’t.
Anonymous 27 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

DreamWorks films are in fact filled with rude humor. What about the scene in Peabody where he powers a car using cow dung? What about the scene where Shreck takes a bath and farts in the swamp? Rude humor when done properly can be very funny (a great example is in Toy Story 3 when Buzz wakes up in the trash truck, sniffs around and says, “That wasn’t me, right?”), but most of the time in DW movies it isn’t and it just comes off as gross and annoying.

Pop culture references, they’re fine to include in the film, but not if they take the place of good storytelling. Most of the time DreamWorks seems to just try to give a silly story to entertain the kids but also give pop culture references so that the parents aren’t bored. If I have to choose between quality storytelling or pop culture references, I’d choose the former, but most of the time DreamWorks prioritizes the latter.

While I do love the KFP movies (my deleted comment mentioned that) and Prince if Egypt was good, I just generally dislike DreamWorks films, and would take Pixar over them any day. Pixar feels like they make well homemade meals, while DreamWorks more often than not comes off as McDonald’s.

Also, you really ought to stop name calling. You come off as really juvenile in doing so.
Anonymous 26 days ago
Though, Rotten Tomatoes had a good point in removing that. I thought that was dumb anyway. You need to see the movie before you decide. 

I also agree with you about Dreamworks. They do have rude humor in their movies and they aren't that great (except for KFP an HTTYD (though HTTYD still has some of that in it, but it makes up for it with the plot.))

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 26 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

People weren’t saying the movie was bad. They were saying that they weren’t interested in seeing the movie. Rotten Tomatoes taking the feature away where we can’t say we’re not interested in a movie is bad for Disney and Hollywood in general. It takes money to find out if people want to see your movie, and the internet gives you that information for free.

Frankly, I can’t blame people for saying they’re not interested in seeing Captain Marvel; I myself isn’t interested either. I mean, I’m a white male, and Brie Larson herself said she doesn’t care what I have to say, so I guess even if I like the movie, my opinion still won’t matter.
Anonymous 26 days ago
Yeah, I can understand that.

As a comic book fan Captain Marvel looks pretty good. As a film fan, it looks awful. The marketing is awful. It has improved lately with the TV spots, but the original trailers are just bad. I still will see it opening weekend because I'm an MCU fan. But what I think will probably be a good film (Nick Fury hasn't disappointed me yet.) has made me unsure by the marketing. 

Lol. I agree. I feel like now women are being sexist to men and saying we can't have opinions. God made us all equal, no matter our race and gender. We were made in his image. 

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Scott Jamison 23 days ago
A certain block of "reviewers" were in fact saying the movie was bad who haven't seen it for the specific purpose of driving down the rating because of their politics--and the "I am interested/disinterested" feature was collateral damage.

I got the impression from watching longer clips that Brie Larson wasn't saying white men shouldn't have opinions, or that their opinions don't matter, so much as that the press conferences and publicity junkets were being stuffed by pale-skinned dudes, and she wanted to see a bit more variety.  Some thin-skinned white men think that the only way to increase diversity is to deprive hard-working white men of their rightful place, so they got their undies in a twist.
Anonymous 23 days ago
So explicitly stating that you will actively discriminate based on race and gender so your media tour is more "diverse" is something that "thin-skinned white people" shouldn't get offended at?
My my....
-David the Clown
Anonymous 27 days ago
Didn't see HTTYD 3 this past weekend. I probably will just wait for it's Netflix release now because Captain Marvel comes out in about a week and a half.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 28 days ago
Pluggedin drinking game: take a shot whenever they mention how a bunch of mainstream movies “staggered” or “failed” or “stumbled,” then finish the list with some random Christian movie that opened at #30 or something, and talk about how THAT movie did just fine. ;)
Anonymous 28 days ago
That's not totally fair. The movie industry judges box office performance based on expectations (which are higher for big-budget mainstream movies) and per-theater averages (which in the case of Run the Race are very respectable).

Secular publications are drawing similar conclusions. Variety has an article headlined "Why 'Lego Movie 2' stumbled at the box office" and Entertainment Weekly describes Run the Race's performance as "very solid."

-- The Kenosha Kid
Anonymous 28 days ago
Hey, don’t get defensive, I’m not attacking them, just pointing out a tried and true pattern of theirs. Look back in their old posts and you’ll see. It’s just funny to me. Not an attack.