The James Cameron-produced Alita: Battle Angel easily topped Valentine’s Day with $8.7 million as it commenced its box office run in North America.
That puts the big-budget movie on pace to earn $36 million to $38 million in its five-day debut, ahead of expectations and enough to beat fellow new offerings Happy Death Day 2U and Isn’t It Romantic. The trio of films opened midweek to take advantage of Valentine’s Day heading into the long President’s Day weekend.
Directed by Robert Rodriguez, Alita nevertheless remains a huge gamble for 20th Century Fox, considering the performance-capture pic cost as much as $200 million to produce before marketing (after rebates and tax incentives, the budget was $165 million-$170 million).
Alita in particular will need to do big business both domestically and overseas in order to avoid turning into the year’s first big-budget miss (its early foreign gross is $32 million).
The cyberpunk adventure, starring Rosa Salazar, was written by Cameron and Laeta Kalogridis. Cameron produced alongside his partner at Lightstorm, Jon Landau. Alita has the benefit of playing on higher-priced Imax, premium large format and 3D screens. While reviews are lukewarm, the pic garnered an A- CinemaScore.