The sci-fi fantasy "Alita: Battle Angel" topped the charts and beat out a number of newcomers including the meta romantic comedy "Isn't It Romantic" and the horror sequel "Happy Death Day 2U" in its first weekend in theaters, but it is a victory with a few caveats. It's leading the slowest Presidents' Day weekend at the box office in almost 20 years and has a ways to go to make up its costly budget.
20th Century Fox said Sunday that the James Cameron-produced film earned an estimated $27.8 million over the weekend against a reported $170 million budget, which includes cost-saving tax incentives and rebates. It's made $36.5 million total since its debut Thursday.
It is quite a tumble (56.4 percent) from last year's record Presidents' Day box office when "Black Panther" grossed $202 million over the three-day weekend and propelled the industry total to $286.6 million. The weekend has in recent years been host to the openings of high earners from "Deadpool" to "Fifty Shades of Grey." This year, total weekend earnings amount to only $125 million.
Warner Bros. also had the No. 3 movie this weekend with its meta-romantic-comedy "Isn't It Romantic," starring Rebel Wilson as a woman who bonks her head and wakes up in a rom-com. It debuted to $14.2 million and has earned $20.5 million since opening earlier in the week.
The other romantic comedy offering in theaters, "What Men Want," with Taraji P. Henson, landed in fourth place in its second weekend with $10.9 million.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters:
1. "Alita: Battle Angel," $27.8 million.
2. "The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part," $21.2 million.
3. "Isn't It Romantic," $14.2 million.
4. "What Men Want," $10.9 million.
5. "Happy Death Day 2U," $9.8 million.
6. "Cold Pursuit," $6 million.
7. "The Upside," $5.6 million.
8. "Glass," $3.9 million.
9. "The Prodigy," $3.2 million.
10. "Green Book," $2.8 million.