Alita: Battle Angel is leading a dismal President’s Day weekend at the North American box office, earning $7.5 million on Friday for a projected four-day weekend of $29 million and six-day bow of $37.8 million.
That’s a troublesome start for the year’s first big-budget event pic, even while coming in ahead of tracking. Directed by Robert Rodriguez and co-written James Cameron, the cyberpunk adventure cost 20th Century Fox at least $200 million to produce before tax rebates and incentives brought the net budget down to $165 million-$170 million.
Alita will need to have strong legs domestically and do big business overseas, where it collected $32 million from its first handful of markets last weekend.
Cameron produced Alita alongside his partner at Lightstorm, Jon Landau. The performance capture pic has the advantage of playing on higher-priced Imax, premium large format and 3D screens. Audiences gave the film an A- CinemaScore, compared to lukewarm reviews from critics.
Holdover The Lego Movie 2: The Second Chapter, now in its second weekend, isn’t far behind Alita. The Warner Bros. family pic is looking at a second-place finish with a projected four-day gross of $26 million-$27 million. It earned $4.5 million on Friday.
Alita opened Thursday in North America, one day after fellow Happy Death Day 2U and Isn’t It Romantic hit theaters. The trio of films opened midweek to take advantage of Valentine’s Day heading into the long President’s Day weekend.
New Line’s Isn’t it Romantic is pacing to come in third with $15 million for the four days, putting its six-day opening at roughly $21 million. The comedy, grossing $4.2 million on Friday, stars Rebel Wilson as a rom-com-detesting Manhattanite who suddenly finds herself living in her very own romantic comedy.
Paramount and Taraji P. Henson’s gender-bending comedy What Men Want, now in its second weekend, should come in fourth with a four-day tally of $12 million after collecting $2.9 million on Friday.
Blumhouse and Universal’s Happy Death Day 2U, holding at No. 5, earned $2.8 million on Friday for a projected four-day gross of $10.5 million and six-day launch of $14 million. While that’s well behind tracking, the slasher pic cost a modest $9 million to produce. In the sequel to 2017’s Happy Death Day, which launched to $26 million, Jessica Rothe reprises her role as a young woman who once again finds herself living the same day again and again after being killed, only this time her friends are targets.
Revenue for the holiday weekend look to be down more than 60 percent from last year when President’s Day offering Black Panther opened to a record-shattering $242 million. Comparisons to 2018 were always going to be brutal, but 2019 President’s Day revenue is also running behind 2017 by more than 20 percent.
Elsewhere, the Dwayne Johnson-produced Fighting With My Family is taking to the mat in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles before expanding nationwide next weekend. From MGM, the WWE biographical drama is projected to post a location average north of $35,000 for the four-day frame, the best of any film.
This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.