Despite a less-than-favorable box office performance domestically, Alita: Battle Angel has taken China by storm and set a couple records there in its opening weekend.
Its Chinese debut of $62.3 million is the best showing ever in that market for 20th Century Fox, which previously belonged to War for the Planet of the Apes. In addition, the movie made $9 million from 603 IMAX screens to not only become the top Fox opening in the format, but also the best IMAX start ever in that country for February.
These records can be attributed to producer James Cameron, because while the film is directed by Robert Rodriguez, it is being marketed heavily using Cameron's name due to China's affinity for his movies such as Avatar and Titanic.
Alita will continue to depend on foreign momentum after tumbling domestically by 58% to $12 million for a domestic total of $60 million this weekend. The financial danger exists for the franchise after this first film cost a net $170 million to produce before marketing. As of now, the movie's international total through Sunday, including China, is $202.7 million for a worldwide cumulative totalof $263.4 million.
Fox insiders say the movie needs to reach $350 million globally to break even, while outside analysts put that number between $400 million and $500 million. This will be quite challenging as Alita will face competition in the coming days domestically from How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World and then Captain Marvel, so while this first chapter ended by setting up a sequel, the jury's still out on whether its return will warrant one.
Directed by Robert Rodriguez, Alita: Battle Angel stars Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley, Keean Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Lana Condor and Eiza González.