With a franchise-best debut, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World has revitalized a lackluster 2019 box office and earned the biggest opening of the year so far—animated or otherwise.
Surpassing all projections, the latest—and final—installment in Dreamworks’ series grossed an estimated $55 million at the U.S. box office during its opening weekend. Additionally, the Dean DeBlois-directed film had already brought in $2.5 million from Fandango sneak previews that took place a few weeks ahead of the wide release. Its $57.5 million total also makes The Hidden World the second best debut for a fully-animated feature in February, behind the unexpected 2014 hit The Lego Movie, which opened to $69 million.
Conservative early projections pointed to a $40-$45 million U.S. opening for The Hidden World , but the movie blew those numbers out of the water thanks to a targeted marketing campaign that included advertising on major networks during popular shows, a reachout to the Hispanic market, and online strategies that engaged its audience. Deadline offers more details on the film’s marketing efforts here.
Overseas where it has been rolling out since early January, The Hidden World has already amassed $217.5 million. Mexico, Australia, Brazil, and the U.K. are among the territories where the movie has performed particularly well.
Meanwhile, Robert Rodriguez’s hybrid Alita: Battle Angel came in at no.2 in its second weekend with an estimated $12.3 million for a cumulative total of $61 million stateside, a disappoining number when considering its production price tag was around $170 million. However, the futuristic action movie is performing above expectations in China where it picked up $65 million during its opening weekend. If China’s figure plus other overseas earnings remain steady for the rest of its theatrical run, Fox could end up with a respectable global total.
Now in its third week, Mike Mitchell’s The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part landed at no.3 with just an estimated $10 million weekend. This brings it to a total $83.6 million, a number still far from what Warner Animation Group (WAG) had anticipated for the release.
On the specialty side, Sony Pictures Classics’ adult-oriented Hungarian animated feature Ruben Brandt, Collector expanded from NYC to Los Angeles, grossing $6,720 from 3 screens for a total of $18,032 in its first two weeks. The arthouse distributor will likely expand the film slowly across other major markets in upcoming weeks. In a crowded field this year, the distinctive art world caper directed by Milorad Krstic failed to secure an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature, which would have likely helped with awareness.