The costly Alita: Battle Angel will show little life at the box office, according to industry experts.
As reported by TheWrap, independent trackers estimate the manga-inspired action sci-fi, directed by Robert Rodriguez (Sin City) and penned by producer James Cameron (Avatar), will open to a five-day total of no more than $25 million against its reported $150m—$200m budget.
Analysts further expect the Fox-backed Alita to tap out domestically somewhere between $45m-$50m.
Despite those dire numbers, Alita will benefit from its shift away from the crowded holiday movie-going season, where it would have opened against Mary Poppins Returns, Bumblebee and eventual $1.1 billion dollar grosser Aquaman.
“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,” Boxoffice.com analyst Daniel Loria said.
If Alita tanks, it would be the second commercial failure for Fox in just as many weeks after The Kid Who Would Be King failed to be crowned a winner at the box office. That film, which cost a reported $60 million, could lose $50 million as the first bomb of 2019.
Loria added Alita could be bailed out if it manages to emerge as a surprise hit in China, where it faces steep competition from more than a dozen local releases when it opens Feb. 22.
“The last weekend of February will give us the full picture of how Alita is going to do internationally,” he said.
“But you never want to be in a position where you need China to find success. Sometimes there’s a film like Warcraft that does end up becoming a big success just because of China, but it’s always such a hard market to predict.”
The long-gestating project, developed under Cameron since 2003, is also facing mostly negative response from critics: Alita currently stands at 49 percent “rotten” on Rotten Tomatoes with 41 counted reviews.
Starring Rosa Salazar, Mahershala Ali, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley, Keean Johnson, Eiza Gonzalez, Michelle Rodriguez, and Christoph Waltz, Alita: Battle Angel opens Feb. 14.
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