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SYFY WIRE Box Office

President's Day box office: Alita takes $41.7 million in slow weekend; Happy Death Day 2U disappoints with $11.5M

By Josh Weiss
Alita Battle Angel

James Cameron (Avatar) is back in the box office game with Alita: Battle Angel, which will take in $41.7 million over the course of the four-day President's Day weekend from 3,790 domestic theaters.

Nevertheless, the film cost around $170 million to produce, so there's a lot of financial ground to cover before it can even begin to be considered a success. Since this is only the movie's first weekend at the box office, things aren't looking too good.

Co-written by Cameron and directed by Robert Rodriguez (Sin City), the cyberpunk-inspired sci-fi feature is an adaptation of Yukito Kishiro's beloved manga, Gunnm. Rosa Salazar (Bird Box) stars in the titular role as a cyborg discovered in a junk heap and brought to life by Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz). Living in the dystopian Iron City, Alita will attempt to discover who (and what) she is.

Alita Battle Angel Rosa Salazar

Mahershala Ali (True Detective), Jennifer Connelly (Spider-Man: Homecoming), Ed Skrein (Deadpool 2), Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen), and Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers) round out the movie's all-star ensemble. Reviews for Alita: Battle Angel praise the state-of-the-art special effects, but criticize the story, which leaves much to be desired. The film currently holds a 59% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Happy Death Day 2U also debuted this weekend, but will only make enough, $11.5 million, to nab the fifth spot at the four-day President's Day box office. Compared to Alita, however, it only cost a meager $9 million to make, so it's sweet, sweet profit from here on out, baby. Compared to the first Happy Death Day, it's still technically a disappointment as the original hit the ground running with $26 million domestically in 2017.

Written and directed by Christopher Landon (he also directed the first movie, but didn't write it), the Blumhouse-produced sequel finds Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) stuck in another, more deadly time loop than before. With a 66% on Rotten Tomatoes, reviews have also been kinder than they were for Alita. Even so, critics have pointed out that the follow-up is not as original or creative as its predecessor. 

Happy Death Day 2U Jessica Rothe

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, which was No. 1 last weekend, will fall to second place with $25 million. In 2014, the first film had already broken the $100 million barrier with nearly $50 million domestically in its second weekend at the box office. The Second Part currently stands at $64 million at the global box office, more than $45 million of that total coming from North America.

Isn't it Romantic and What Men Want—two movies with similar premises—are also fighting for a seat at the table. Now in its sophomore outing, What Men Want should do $12.6 million over the four-day holiday. Undertaking its first metaphorical lap, Isn't it Romantic, which stars Rebel Wilson as a woman who magically finds herself living out a romantic comedy, is on track for a $17.3 million debut. 

(via The Hollywood Reporter, Variety & Box Office Mojo)