alita box office

The early reaction to Alita: Battle Angel has been somewhat positive, but that might not be enough to save it at the box office. Early Alita box office tracking indicates that the sci-fi extravaganza from Robert Rodriguez and James Cameron might end up being the first major bomb of 2019. Yikes. Maybe things will change with word of mouth. Or maybe not…

The Wrap reports that Alita: Battle Angel is headed towards “five-day opening of no more than $25 million against a production budget that has been reported to be between $150 million and $200 million.” The final domestic total is expected to be between $45-50 million. That’s not good, folks. It sure as hell isn’t anywhere close to the haul of the last Cameron-related sci-fi spectacle, Avatar.

That said, this number is better than what box office analysts predicted when the movie was originally set to open in December. “It’s not looking great, but by moving it to Valentine’s Day, they gave the film a bit more runway to make some money against The Lego Movie 2 and How to Train Your Dragon 3, which aren’t direct competition,” says Boxoffice.com analyst Daniel Loria.

So what’s the deal? My guess: the property isn’t nearly as hot as Cameron and Rodriguez thought it would be. I’ll confess I’ve never even heard of Alita until production on the film started, and I write about this stuff for a living. Another problem: the movie doesn’t look very good! Every trailer I’ve seen for Alita has been lackluster, and even dull in some cases. That said, our own Hoai-Tran Bui says the film is actually pretty good, writing:

“Perhaps the success of Alita: Battle Angel comes from the lack of expectations surrounding a property not especially well-known to western audiences. Rodriguez can craft his vivid and visceral world and take as much creative license as he pleases, without the pressure to please fans. But more than benefiting from the lowest of expectations when it comes to anime adaptations, Alita: Battle Angel is a solid, visually stunning blockbuster that doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not.”

It’s worth noting that these are early box office predictions, and subject to change. Alita could end up with legs if audiences take to the film, and start spreading the word. But if that doesn’t happen, there’s a chance it could recoup its losses when the movie opens in China and Japan on February 22.

Alita: Battle Angel opens February 14, 2019.

Set several centuries in the future, the abandoned Alita is found in the scrapyard of Iron City by Ido, a compassionate cyber-doctor who takes the unconscious cyborg Alita to his clinic. When Alita awakens, she has no memory of who she is, nor does she have any recognition of the world she finds herself in. As Alita learns to navigate her new life and the treacherous streets of Iron City, Ido tries to shield her from her mysterious past.

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