Box office tracking is sometimes more sorcery than science, so keep an eyebrow raised as you read about Alita: Battle Angel predictions.
Alita: Battle Angel was co-written and co-produced by James Cameron and directed by Robert Rodriguez. It opens in theaters in the U.S. on February 14. Box office analysts told TheWrap they think Alita won’t top $25 million across its five-day domestic opening, with a final box office gross in the range of $45 million-$50 million. That’s off a production budget of anywhere between $150 million to $200 million.
That said, 1) those are just predicted estimates, and predictions have been wrong before; and 2) even the prognosticators said the international markets could jump in and save it.
If Alita: Battle Angel doesn’t do that great over here, it could still slay overseas. We’ve seen films do just OK in the domestic market but have gangbusters sales in foreign markets. Big-budget movies like Venom and Aquaman spring to mind; granted, they both had better projections than $50 million at the domestic box office, but they surprised everyone by making huge money overseas.
Consider Warcraft — that movie only made $47 million at the domestic box office, but picked up $386 million overseas, with $213.5 million coming from China alone.
So if China — the second-biggest movie market in the world after the domestic U.S./Canada — embraces Alita, she’s golden.
Alita is scheduled to open in China and Japan on February 22. So by then we’ll know where the film stands around the world, and if it will lose up to $200 million, break even, or even make a killing.
Even if Alita doesn’t have a great five-day opening weekend, getting an early start on Valentine’s Day February 14 and continuing through Presidents Day February 18, it’s still expected to do better here than it would have if it had kept its previous release date of Christmas. Aquaman and company would’ve crushed it. That said, maybe this past weekend would’ve been a better spot for Alita, since it had almost no competition, allowing Glass to top a super-slow Super Bowl weekend.
As it stands, Alita will arrive between The LEGO Movie 2 and How to Train Your Dragon 3.
As TheWrap noted, Alita: Battle Angel may be Fox’s latest release as a standalone studio before the Disney merger. So a low box office would be going out with a whimper. People have underestimated James Cameron before, though. Titanic was expected to be a big budget disaster, and who saw Avatar coming as the highest-grossing film in the world? He didn’t direct this film, but his stamp is all over it.
Hopefully Alita can avoid the low box office fates of films like Ghost in the Shell, Blade Runner 2049, and Mortal Engines. Time will tell. For now, keep up with what’s ahead in 2019 with our handy movie schedule.