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‘How to Train Your Dragon’ On Top Again as Annual Box Office Down 25 Percent

"A Madea Family Funeral" surprises, and "Green Book" gets a post-Oscar boost — but it's the lowest-ever Best Picture winner from a studio.

Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral

From “Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral”

Lionsgate

This weekend was a first for 2019: Two films grossed over $25 million, led by the second weekend of “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” and a better-than-expected opening for “A Madea Family Funeral.” That’s great news ahead of next weekend, when Disney’s “Captain Marvel” is expected to open over $100 million. Still, with the “Black Panther” performance in the comp, year-over-year performance remains at a staggering 25 percent down.

“Dragon,” which surprised with its series-best domestic opening, fell 45 percent its second weekend, just about even with the previous release. It is at $375 million worldwide, with most countries now open. The DreamWorks Animation series is on its third distributor (now at Universal, previously Paramount and 20th Century Fox), so anything close to the previous success is particularly gratifying for the studio.

Astrid (America Ferrera) and Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) in DreamWorks Animation’s How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, directed by Dean DeBlois.

“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”

© 2019 DreamWorks Animation LLC

It’s the best second-weekend result this year, and the best second weekend for an animated release since “The Grinch” — and that’s with “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse,” and “The LEGO Movie 2” opening since. That’s particularly promising, since March means spring vacations and elevated weekdays staggered through the month. This boosts the film’s chances of hitting $200 million.

Marketing for the latest Tyler Perry film suggests it represents the end of the very-successful Madea series, a strategy that likely helped it hit $27 million; pre-opening estimates figured closer to $20 million. As the ninth entry in a franchise that started in 2005, it is an impressive performance and a third better than “Boo! 2” last Halloween. The series’ demise is likely well timed; overall, it is only seventh-best among series entries.

Greta

TIFF

“Greta,” the other wide opener, fell short of its limited goals. Veteran director Neil Jordan’s first film in over six years, and his first wide release since “The Brave One” in 2007, featured two acclaimed actresses in Isabelle Huppert and Chloe Grace Moretz in a thriller about a widow who increasingly becomes a threat to her new friend.

Its Toronto premiere saw initial indications of mixed reviews; that was borne out with a 53 Metacritic score. With a reported $4 million acquisition before marketing, a lower-end gross was expected. However, a per-theater average of under $2,000 — less than 20 percent of “Madea,” which played in about the same number of theaters — is a disappointment. (Most studios want to avoid weeks when a monster opener like “Captain Marvel” lurks ahead.) Still, it is a fun notion to see the iconic Huppert as co-lead in a wide release film. The last time that happened was 32 years ago in Curtis Hanson’s “The Bedroom Window,” to more-successful results.

Universal Pictures

The big holdover story comes in the post-Oscar response to Best Picture winner “Green Book.” Unlike most recent winners, it has yet to appear other than a premium price in home availability; it rose to fifth place, more than doubling its gross from last week while also nearly doubling its theaters. Its $4.7 million gross is triple what “The Shape of Water” managed last year after winning, and the best post-awards boost since “The King’s Speech” eight years ago.

The film will still fall short of $100 million, though it’s reached the highest number for a Best Picture winner since “Argo.” However, it will end up with the lowest total of any recipient from a major studio. When films like “Argo,” “The Departed,” “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” “A Beautiful Mind, “Titanic,” and other studio films win, they gross (adjusted) far above $100 million.

“Green Book,” which now is turning into a surprise international success, ended up playing more like a high-end film from Weinstein, Focus, or Fox Searchlight.

“The LEGO Movie: The Second Act” held best otherwise with a 32 percent drop, despite competition from a new animated release. Also of note: In its second weekend of wide release, wrestling comedy/drama “Fighting With My Family” had a 40 percent drop. That’s normally positive for most second weekends, but this started off somewhat lower than hoped.

The Top 10

1. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (Universal) –  Week 2; Last weekend #1

$30,046,000 (-%) in 4,286 theaters (+27); PTA (per theater average): $7,010,000; Cumulative: $97,696,000

2. A Madea Family Funeral (Lionsgate) NEW – Cinemascore: A-; Metacritic: 41; Est. budget: $20 million

$27,050,000 in 2,442 theaters; PTA: $11,077; Cumulative: $27,050,000

3. Alita: Battle Angel (20th Century Fox) –  Week 3; Last weekend #2

$7,000,000 (-43%) in 3,096 theaters (-76); PTA: $3,096; Cumulative: $72,231,000

4. The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Act (Warner Bros.) –  Week 4; Last weekend #3

$6,615,000 (-32%) in 3,458 theaters (-375); PTA: $1,913; Cumulative: $91,670,000

5. Green Book (Universal) –  Week 16; Last weekend #

$4,711,000 (+121%) in 2,641 theaters (+1,388); PTA: $1,784; Cumulative: $75,921,000

6. Fighting With My Family (MGM) –  Week 3; Last weekend #4

$4,691,000 (-40%) in 2,855 theaters (+144); PTA: $1,643; Cumulative: $14,946,000

7. Isn’t It Romantic? (Warner Bros.) –  Week 3; Last weekend #5

$4,645,000 (-35%) in 3,325 theaters (-119); PTA: $1,397; Cumulative: $40,2

8. Greta (Focus) NEW – Cinemascore: (not yet reported); Metacritic: 53; Est. budget: $4 million (acquisition cost)

$4,585,000 in 2,411 theaters; PTA: $1,902; Cumulative: $4,585,000

9. What Men Want (Paramount) –  Week 4; Last weekend #6

$2,700,000 (-49%) in 2,018 theaters (-371); PTA: $2,018; Cumulative: $49,641,000

10. Happy Death Day 2 U (Universal) –  Week 3; Last weekend #7

$2,516,000 (-48%) in 2,331 theaters (-881); PTA: $1,079; Cumulative: $25,283,000

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