February 23, 2019

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “How To Train Your Dragon 3” Breathes Fire, “Fighting With My Family” Soft, “Alita” Drops & More


After a string of disappointments at the box office, this weekend’s franchise centerpiece looks like it will deliver.  Preliminary numbers at Deadline have the opening day for HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD (DreamWorks Animation/Universal) at $17.3M (including $3M from Thursday night and $2.5M from earlier paid previews), better than the $12.1M for the original Dragon, and just behind the $18.4M for Dragon 2.  The question now will be whether Hidden World‘s weekend will play out like the first Dragon, which had a 3.6x weekend multiple of its opening day (that would mean $62M here), or more like the 2.7x multiple of Dragon 2 (which would translate to $47M). Sequels are typically frontloaded, but Dragon 2 opened in June, which has stronger Fridays for family movies because some schools are out, so we’ll see how Saturday goes.

Last week’s would -be franchise, ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL (20th) fell 58% from last Friday to $3.1M, although it had actually opened a day earlier due to Valentine’s Day and the drop from that day to this Friday was 64%.  It should have a dim $11M weekend, with a likely $80M US total, and will require tremendous sustained success overseas (mostly meaning China) just to break even.

THE LEGO MOVIE 2:  THE SECOND PART (Warners Animation) dropped 51% on its 3rd Friday to $2.1M, for a weekend around $8M, and it will stretch to reach $100M in the US, a sad way from the first Lego‘s $257.8M.

FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY (Annapurna/MGM) expanded from last week’s 4-theatre release to 2711, with a soft $2.6M on Friday that should bring it to $7M for the weekend.  It wasn’t an expensive production, so it will have to hope for strong word of mouth to keep it in circulation for a while.

ISN’T IT ROMANTIC (BRON/New Line/Warners) was down 45% compared to last Friday at $2.2M, but as with last week’s other openings, Friday wasn’t its first day.  It should have a $7.5M weekend, and will hope to reach $50M in the US.

WHAT MEN WANT (Paramount) had a 54% Friday-to-Friday drop to $1.3M, for a $4.5M weekend, as it heads to $55M in the US.

HAPPY DEATH DAY 2 U (Blumhouse/Universal) fell 49% to $1.4M compared to last Friday, which was its 3rd day of release.  It’s heading for a $5M weekend, and might get past $30M in the US, far from the first Death Day‘s $55.7M.

THE UPSIDE (Lantern/STX) is still enjoying great word of mouth, down 32% from last Friday to $900K, for a $3M weekend, and a US total that should near or hit $100M this weekend.

COLD PURSUIT (Studiocanal/Summit/Lionsgate) dropped 42% from last Friday to $900K, for a $3M weekend and a US total in the $30-35M range, slightly below The Commuter‘s $36.3M.

The Christian-aimed RUN THE RACE (Roadside) opened at 853 theatres with a $750K opening day, and should see a slim $2M for the weekend.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."