To anyone who watched Alita: Battle Angel and hoped it would lead to sequels -- you may be in luck. Emphasis on may, since it's early days, but Alita may be saved by the foreign box office.
The domestic box office has only given Alita $60.7 million so far after its February 14 opening. That's not good, but so far Alita has made $202.7 million worldwide. That's better! Considering the film had a reported production budget of $170 million, per Box Office Mojo, it needs to make a lot of money to be profitable.
With a current worldwide gross of $263,358,391 and counting, Alita appears to be on the right track.
There were initial fears that Alita: Battle Angel might only make $25 million off its five-day domestic opening. Alita overperformed from that expectation, with a five-day opening over $40M. That said, it's still not doing great on the domestic front. That's why hopes were placed in China and the international markets, since they have become saviors of many big-budget films.
It was previously suggested that Alita needs to make at least $500 million to be profitable for Fox, factoring in advertising and profit-sharing. Is that an attainable goal? Possibly.
As Forbes pointed out, Alita may finish under $100 million on the domestic front (they are projecting $85 million) but China and company could help. As Forbes speculated -- pure speculation -- if Alita earns $175 million in China alone, plus $85 million in the North American domestic market, plus around $200 million in the rest of the world, that would give it about $460 million worldwide. That may be a realistic goal.
Would it be enough to greenlight sequels, if $500M is really the profit benchmark? The first film introduced a whole world, and the critics and fans who enjoyed the movie are eager to see more. Director Robert Rodriguez recently talked about the ending, and how it set the film up for sequels but could also stand on its own.
Alita: Battle Angel has a CinemaScore of A- from polled moviegoers. It also has a whopping 94% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes, vs. the more measured 60% critics score. Alita also currently has a 7.6/10 rating from IMDb users. Based on that, it sounds like there's a ready fandom out there excited to see more. But money is always a factor, and it may be too soon to know if this film will make enough for sequels.
Alita has the backing of James Cameron as co-writer and producer. If he pushes for a sequel, that has to be worth something, right? The movie was released by 20th Century Fox, but Fox is going through its merger with Disney. So maybe this is actually a decision that Disney will have to make moving forward.
For now, Alita is playing in theaters as one of the many movies packing the 2019 release schedule.