Heading in to this past weekend, it was obvious that How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World was flying towards a solid opening and an easy first place finish at the box office. However, based on the tracking, it did seem like the threequel would fall short of the impressive marks set by its predecessors. And yet, like Toothless and Hiccup themselves, the film was underestimated because it wound up breaking records for the How to Train Your Dragon franchise.
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World soared above the competition in its domestic opening weekend. Dean DeBlois’ film opened to $55.5 million from 4,259 locations, according to Entertainment Weekly. That number was good enough to easily outdo the dragons of Berk’s previous efforts, besting How to Train Your Dragon’s $43.7 million and How to Train Your Dragon 2’s $49.5 million, and setting a new record for the franchise.
Based on the success of the first two films, we knew that How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World would do well, but indicators pointed to it failing to match the 2010 and 2014 film’s opening weekends. The tracking on The Hidden World had it coming in between $40 million and $45 million. On the higher end of that, it would have beat the original, but How to Train Your Dragon 2’s opening weekend seemed out of reach.
Not only did The Hidden World best that mark, it did so with over $5 million to spare, torching expectations with fire and well, no blood. It is PG after all. Trilogy-cappers don’t usually outperform the first two films in a series, much less to this degree, so this record-breaking performance is quite remarkable.
The film didn’t just do well for the How to Train Your Dragon franchise either; it also had the biggest opening of 2019 period, coming well ahead of Glass, which performed far below expectations. With The Hidden World being the final film in this franchise (at least for now), this is a heck of a way to go out on a high note.
Domestic audiences aren’t the only ones who have showed up in droves to say goodbye to Toothless and Hiccup. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World has also killed it internationally and set records for the franchise in overseas territories as well. Paired with its domestic opening, The Hidden World now sits at $274.9 million worldwide. It’s not done either, with more markets opening in March, including China.
In addition to its box office performance, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World has also excelled on the critical front. The film continued the trend set by its predecessors, racking up critical acclaim and it has even garnered talk of being a possible Best Animated Film contender at next year’s Oscars. Audiences have loved it to, with The Hidden World earning an “A” CinemaScore.