Despite how many live-action adaptations of anime were made in the U.S., one has yet to be a financial success. The James Cameron-produced project, Alita: Battle Angel, was supposed to be the redeemer, the one to break the curse of anime films flopping at the box office. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The anime adaptation grossed $41.7 million over five days.
Not only did this movie underperform its massive $170 million budget but it also led the most disappointing President’s Day weekend box office in the last 15 years. Granted, Alita had big shoes to fill seeing that Black Panther opened to a massive $200 million box office on President’s Day last year. Even with the film not expecting to do as well as the Marvel movie from the year prior, it is disappointing considering how expensive the film was to make.
It isn’t too surprising that Alita is struggling. The film is based on a lesser known Manga and Anime. And American Anime adaptations are known to disappoint box office-wise, at first. However, the film generated about $94 million in the foreign domestic market, making it gross a total of $137 million worldwide. It could easily be a film saved by the foreign market and those who appreciate its heavy visual effects. Only time will tell if the Robert Rodriguez film will be financially profitable and whether audiences who saw Alita this past weekend will lend it support so it could have some staying power in the domestic box office.