Friday Box Office Analysis
By Kim Hollis
February 23, 2019
Finally, we have a movie that exceeds expectations. Three cheers for Hiccup and Toothless! (And Astrid, Valka, Gobber, Snoutlout, Fishlegs, Ruffnut, Tuffnut, Eret, and the Light Fury!)
How to Train Your Dragon 3 earned $17.5 million yesterday, including $3 million from its Thursday previews (but not $2.5 million from its early advanced sneaks a few Saturdays ago). That's the best Friday of 2019 so far and will also lead to the best opening weekend of the year. Adding to the good news, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World will be the highest opener for the franchise. With a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 91 percent and an A Cinemascore, the finale that closes out the story has a great shot at being the top performer overall, as well.
By the way, it had $181 million from international venues prior to this weekend, too.
A lot of times, the Academy Awards will have a deleterious effect on box office, but as a family film, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World should hold up well over all three days of the weekend. Look for a total of $60 million to send it on its way to success and a happy box office story.
Also new this weekend was the WWE film (and critically beloved) Fighting With My Family. This fictionalized story of wrestler Paige earned $2.6 million and should finish right around $8 million for the weekend. Considering that it cost about $14 million total, there's nothing wrong with that debut, and I expect it to hang around for a little while since audiences seem to love it, too. (Also, the Rock is doing a really nice job of promoting the film.)
A faith-based film also finished in the top ten yesterday. Run the Race from Roadside Attractions earned $759,000 on Friday and should come in with around $1.5 million for the weekend. It likely had a tiny budget, so it will probably be a winner for the studio once ancillary revenue from home video release comes in.
To no one's surprise, Alita: Battle Angel declined 58 percent from last Friday. It had limited appeal to begin with, and I'd guess that just about everyone who really wanted to see it did so last weekend. Look for a second weekend total of $14 million.
Isn't It Romantic also had a pretty heavy decline considering its smaller overall box office. It fell 46 percent from its opening Friday, and will probably be duking it out with Fighting With My Family to land in that $8 million range.
Finally, Happy Death Day 2U held up a little better than horror usually does, but it was off to a bit of a rough start anyway. A $5 million weekend is still fine since the budget was so tiny, but you know that Universal and Blumhouse were expecting more from this one.