The cyborgs of ‘Alita’ vanquish rivals in US box office

Novel creator Yukito Kishiro poses at the premiere for the movie ‘Alita: Battle Angel’ in Los Angeles. (Reuters pic)

LOS ANGELES: Fox’s new sci-fi spectacle “Alita: Battle Angel” is dominating North American box offices with an estimated US$33 million take this four-day holiday weekend, industry trackers said Sunday.

The film, with Rosa Salazar voicing “Alita,” a cyborg almost more human than machine, was set to make US$27.8 million for the Friday-to-Sunday period and an additional US$5.2 million for Monday’s President’s Day holiday, Exhibitor Relations reported.

The computer-animated adaptation of a Japanese cyberpunk manga story has big names behind it, directed by Robert Rodriguez and produced by James Cameron. The project, 20 years in the making, also has a sizeable budget: US$170 million.

The Fox film beat out last weekend’s leader, “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” which earned Warner Bros an estimated US$21.2 million in ticket sales for the first three days of the weekend and US$27.3 million when Monday is included.

This fourth “Lego” movie again features the voices of Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks and Will Arnett – joined this time by Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph – in a story of love and chaos in a post-apocalyptic toyland.

In third was another Warner Bros film, “Isn’t It Romantic?”, at US$14.2 million for three days and US$16.5 million for four. Rebel Wilson stars as a rom-com hating New Yorker who, after a blow to the head, finds herself in her own romantic comedy. Liam Hemsworth also stars.

Fourth place went to Paramount’s “What Men Want.” The gender-switching remake of 2000’s “What Women Want” stars Taraji P Henson. It had three-day ticket sales of US$10.9 million and a four-day total of US$12.6 million.

And in fifth was “Happy Death Day 2U” from Universal, at US$9.8 million for three days and US$11.5 million for four – already recouping the mere US$9 million it cost to make. Jessica Rothe again plays the role of a young woman living and reliving the day of her murder.