The weekend of the Academy Awards is notoriously a bad one for new arrivals in theaters. It is as if the sstudios bank on people being consumed with their end of the year movies party that they would not have time to actually go see a movie. Normally they would dump some also-ran titles into theaters, focus on promoting upcoming hits with appearances by the performers presenting awards, and then get back to work the following week.
While almost half the time a new title fails to hit the #1 slot on Oscar weekend, this year Dreamworks decided on a kids film as counter-programing and it worked out well, because it made perfect sense. That audience is unbothered by the trophy ceremony, while everyone else is wildly excited about tonight! (Kidding: the ratings for the show have been eroding to record low levels.) So, here are the figures for this weekend’s theater numbers.
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 3: THE HIDDEN WORLD – $55.52 Million
This was not only a cagey move to position a kids animated feature on the weekend when most adults are looking away, it was a profitable one. Landing with almost a 50% surge over projections, this is more than an impressive number — it is the biggest opening in the “Dragon” franchise. The first two entries did not manage to best $50 million, making this all the more impressive. It will be needed here in the upfront, as next weekend “Captain Marvel” will be gobbling up a majority of the business. (No, Brie Larson — that was not a “fat joke”, relax…)
2. ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL – $12.0m
The expensive James CAmeron product had a downcast debut last week, and in its second frame the prospects dove a sharp -58%. “Dragon” was looking at a very similar audience and as it dominated ticket sales this robotic lark suffered as a result.
3. THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART – $10.01m
With opposite fortunes of this week’s winner, this animated sequel was a disappointment in its debut and has been seeking to find its footing. By now it is just over $80 million after three weeks.
4. FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY – $8.01m
A British wrestling biopic that was based upon a documentary of a female wrestler. The challenging storyline was going to hopefully be augmented with the inclusion of Dwayne The Rock Johnson. He took this on as a pet project. The film was heavily promoted during sporting events hoping to draw interest in the unique approach, but it managed a soft open right in line with projections.
5. ISN’T IT ROMANTIC – $7.51m
The Valentines Day romantic release is attempting to wring out the shammy of any more dollars before getting buried in the onslaught of the coming weeks.
6. WHAT MEN WANT – $5.2m
Taraji P. Henson has had some moderate success with this remake of the Mel Gibson comedy – against rather low expectations.
7. HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U – $4.98m
This horror effort has only grossed just over $20 million, but was such a cheap effort it may yet see a small profit.
8. COLD PURSUIT – $3.3m
Not delivering the usual kind of dependable numbers for a Liam Neeson middle-aged-man-with-a-gun action lark. But hey, he gets to use a gun.
9. THE UPSIDE – $3.21m
Still on over 2,000 screens it has become such a surprise hit it is now the second 2019 title to gross $100 million.
10. RUN THE RACE – $2.27m
A surprise entry is this faith-based title from Roadside Attractions that was showing on just 850 screens. It is a high school sports drama with Tim Tebow starring, and also serving as one of the producers.