The sci-fi fantasy ‘Alita: Battle Angel’ topped the US charts and beat out a number of newcomers including the meta romantic comedy ‘Isn’t It Romantic’ and the horror sequel ‘Happy Death Day 2U’ in its first weekend in theatres, but it is a victory with a few caveats. It’s leading the slowest Presidents Day weekend at the box office in almost 20 years and has a ways to go to make up its costly budget.

20th Century Fox said Sunday that the James Cameron-produced film earned an estimated $27.8 million (Dh102.1 million) over the weekend against a reported $170 million budget, which includes cost-saving tax incentives and rebates. It’s made $36.5 million total since its debut Thursday.

Robert Rodriguez directed the future-set film starring Rosa Salazar as a cyborg with no memory of her past. Critics were mixed on the results, and it’s become just the latest pricey and ambitious non-Star Wars, non-Marvel or DC sci-fi film to do less-than-stellar business at the box office, the last being the Peter Jackson-produced ‘Mortal Engines’.

It is quite a tumble (56.4 perc ent) from last year’s record Presidents Day box office when ‘Black Panther’ grossed $202 million over the three-day weekend and propelled the industry total to $286.6 million. The weekend has in recent years been host to the openings of high earners from ‘Deadpool’ to ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. This year, total weekend earnings amount to only $125 million.

Alita: Battle Angel is currently showing in the UAE.