This image released by Universal Pictures shows characters Astrid, voiced by America Ferrera, left, and Valka, voiced by Cate Blanchett, in a scene from DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.” (DreamWorks Animation/Universal Pictures via AP)

‘How to Train Your Dragon’ tops Oscar weekend with $55.5M

Going into the weekend, overall ticket sales for 2019 were down 18 per cent

“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” breathed some fire into a slumping box office with a franchise-best $55.5 million debut over Oscar weekend.

Writer-director Dean DeBlois’ third and supposedly final installment in the “How to Train Your Dragon” series notched the best opening of the year in U.S. and Canadian theatres.

Going into the weekend, overall ticket sales for 2019 were down 18 per cent, according to Comscore, throwing cold water on the record box office of 2018.

But as Hollywood was set to gather for the Academy Awards on Sunday, “The Hidden World” lent the industry some good news — albeit not a hint at all of the magnitude of what that was in theatres last Oscar weekend when “Black Panther” was the top film.

Made for $129 million, “The Hidden World” rode good reviews (91 per cent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and warm audience reaction (an A CinemaScore) to exceed the $43.7 million opening of the 2010 original (which ultimately made $494.9 million worldwide) and the $49 million opening of the 2014 sequel (which amassed $621.5 million).

The latest installment, which similarly features the voices of Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera and Cate Blanchett, is the first DreamWorks Animation release under the Comcast-owned Universal, which bought Jeffrey Katzenberg’s company in 2016.

Universal trotted out “The Hidden World” abroad first. It’s been in release internationally since January, earning $216.9 million through Sunday.

Last week’s top film, “Alita: Battle Angel,” dropped steeply in its second weekend with $12 million. That’s a slide of 58 per cent, and further trouble for the 20th Century Fox release from producer James Cameron and director Robert Rodriguez. The sci-fi film cost $170 million to make.

MGM’s “Fighting With My Family,” about professional wrestling star Saraya “Paige” Bevis, was the only other new film in wide release. It expanded to 2,711 theatres after a limited release last weekend, grossing a modest $8 million.

Directed by Stephen Merchant, “Fighting With My Family” stars Florence Pugh as Bevis and features a cameo supporting performance from Dwayne Johnson, an executive producer on the film. With an $11 million budget, it’s a far smaller film than Johnson is typically a part of.

READ MORE: B.C. business women pitch products to stars at Oscars

READ MORE: Academy reverses plans, will air all awards live at Oscars

There was little of an Oscar bump for the Academy Awards nominees heading into Sunday’s show. Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” is tied for the most nominations with 10 but, as a Netflix release, it has been mostly streamed. Netflix has declined to give box-office figures for its theatrical release. The major theatre operators have refused to screen Netflix films since they don’t adhere to the traditional 90-day theatrical exclusivity window.

Of the nominees still in theatres, Peter Farrelly’s “Green Book” fared the best, grossing $2.1 million on its 15th weekend. The best picture-nominated interracial road trip drama has grossed $69.6 million through Sunday.

Ahead of the Oscars, “Vice” added $731,391 ($47.2 million total), “A Star Is Born” earned $700,000 ($210.9 million total), “Bohemian Rhapsody” added $645,000 ($213.1 million total) and “The Favourite” pulled in $540,000 ($32.1 million total).

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theatres, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included.

1. “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” $55.5 million ($34.7 million international).

2. “Alita: Battle Angel,” $12 million.

3. “Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” $10 million ($10.3 million international).

4. “Fighting With My Family,” $8 million.

5. “Isn’t it Romantic,” $7.5 million.

6. “What Men Want,” $5.2 million.

7. “Happy Death Day,” $5 million.

8. “Cold Pursuit,” $3.3 million.

9. “The Upside,” $3.2 million.

10. “Run the Race,” $2.3 million.

___

Jake Coyle, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Long-awaited Crofton road improvements finally happening

Paved shoulders on both sides will be a welcome addition

New ratepayers association forming in Area H

Organization will advocate for North Oyster, Yellowpoint and Diamond District residents

Mrs. Warren’s Profession a delightful comedic romp

Chemainus Theatre Festival did not disappoint with their production of Mrs. Warren’s Profession

Campground on the chopping block as ALC deadline looms

Owners fighting to continue facility’s operation, with a huge outpouring of support

Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates try to chart a path to victory

Conservatives, NDP, Liberals set sights on votes needed to unseat Green incumbent

VIDEO: Drone footage documents work to free salmon at Big Bar landslide

Video shows crews working to remove rocks and wood, and transporting salmon by helicopter

B.C. Ferries wants input on concepts for a Horseshoe Bay terminal re-design

Ferry corporation accepting public feedback until Oct. 13

Man who crushed Nanaimo RCMP cars with stolen truck gets more jail time

Majore Jackson, 34, sentenced to two more years in jail in provincial court in Nanaimo

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Victoria father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

Rick Mercer calls out Conservative candidate in B.C. for fake meme

‘Not true. All fake. Please Stop,’ tweeted Rick Mercer in response

Most Read