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

REVIEW: Lacombe production of Halfway There a heartfelt hit

Cow Patti Theatre brings Canadian classic to the stage

PHOTO: U12 Edge Ringette wins Provincials in Calgary

Lacombe defeated Hinton in the final to take home the title

City of Lacombe to conduct municipal census

City needs accurate, up-to-date population information in order to maximize various grants

New Lacombe Lodge, Parkview Manor priorities for Lacombe Foundation

Lacombe Foundation conducting public consultations to be shovel-ready

LRWSC appoints new Commission Manager

ay Hohn has been with the LRWSC for the past two years as an Operator and Safety Coordinator.

WATCH: ‘Napalm Girl’ discusses journey from hatred to forgiveness in Lacombe

Burman University’s Herr Lecture Series welcomed Kim Phuc Phan Thi to Lacombe

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

Notley’s government puts priority on health care in throne speech

Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell kicked off the legislature session

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh steps into the House of Commons, making history

Burnaby South MP becomes first visible minority to lead a federal party in the House of Commons

B.C. argues it cannot stop Trans Mountain, but it can protect environment

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says only Ottawa has the authority to decide what goes in trans-boundary pipelines

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick retires in wake of SNC-Lavalin case

Jody Wilson-Raybould accused Wernick of pressuring her to head off criminal charges for the firm

Dutch tram shooting suspect arrested, say police

Police say three people were killed in the shooting Monday and five wounded

Most Read