There’s not much surprise in what took the top spot on the last weekend of February, the surprise is in how much it earned. How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World, the third and supposedly final entry into the trilogy scored huge numbers this weekend, racking up $55.5 million to give it the second best February opening ever for an animated film behind only The LEGO Movie‘s $69 million opening (and narrowly ahead of the $55.3 million of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water). Unusually for a trilogy, the $55.5 million haul actually improved on the opening weekends for the first entry ($43.7 million) and the second ($49.4 million), meaning that the How to Train Your Dragon franchise is picking up viewers along the way.
Amazing reviews (91 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and excellent word of mouth (an A Cinemascore) buoyed the pic, although it may have gotten a head of steam from overseas audiences, which spent $185 million in tickets last weekend. With over $240 million worldwide already, it looks it should make a hefty profit after its $125 million budget is accounted for. Exit polling also shows that Hidden World seems to be beloved among all age groups, all genders, and across all regions of the country. With a huge opening like that, Dreamworks might want to reconsider ending the franchise.
The news wasn’t quite as good, unfortunately, for Dwayne Johnson’s Fighting with My Family, a wresting pic about the origins of the WWE’s Paige that The Rock produced and starred in. It was a passion project for him, and wouldn’t have been made without his involvement. Directed by Stephen Merchant, the film opened at number four this weekend with $8 million, a mediocre result despite excellent reviews and a great Cinemascore (like Hidden World, it also received a 91 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and an A Cinemascore). It’s not a terrific number, but then again, it was a small-scale film that only cost $11 million to produce, so it’s likely to turn a profit, and seems especially well suited to the digital market. Word of mouth may also help improve those numbers in the coming weeks.
The only other new entry this weekend was the faith-based Run the Race produced by Tim Tebow and starring Mykelti Williamson, aka Bubba Gump. It picked up solid $2.23 million, good enough for tenth place.
The rest of the weekend’s top ten were all holdovers. The bottom fell out of Alita: Battle Angel, as it dropped 58 percent to $12 million. After 10 days, its earned $60 million, well shy of its $170 million price tag. It has, however, put up an impressive $103 million overseas, and that is before receipts from China have come in. The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part felt the presence of How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World, toppling down to $9.6 million. After three weeks at the box office, it’s only scored $83.2 million and the $257 million domestic gross of the original looks well out of reach. The $52 million overseas hasn’t helped much, either.
Rebel Wilson’s Isn’t It Romantic added another $7.4 million, and after two weeks the film has earned back its $31 million budget with $33 million in the bank. What Men Want has held surprisingly well, too, adding another $5.2 million to bring its total to $45 million. In its second weekend, Happy Death Day 2U continues to stumble, dropping 50 percent to only $4.7 million. However, at a cost of only $9 million, the $21 million its already earned puts it on track for a profit.
In its 7th week, The Upside hit very nearly hit the $100 million mark ($99.74 million) after earning $3.21 million, outlasting Glass in the top ten. Liam Neeson’s Cold Pursuit has earned $27 million now after its $3 million weekend. Meanwhile, Oscar weekend sees now Best Picture nominees still in the top ten, but Green Book is just outside of it, having earned $2.2 million to bring its 15-week total to $69.5 million.
Next weekend is another of those “quiet before the storm” weekends. The horror film Greta opens wide along with Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral, but expect to see Hidden World hang on to the top spot for one more weekend before Captain Marvel arrives in two weeks and obliterates everything else in its wake.