(Yicai Global) March 1 -- Alita: Battle Angel, the new science fiction picture that boasts Avatar director James Cameron as producer and screenwriter, is struggling to reproduce the record-breaking success of the 2009 smash hit in China and it may fail to produce a profit.
The US film hit Chinese silver screens on Feb. 22 and has raked in CNY582 million (USD87.1 million) in the country so far, according to official data. The industry expects the title to bring in CNY900million from China, CNY100 million shy of the all-important CNY1 billion-mark.
Alita's box office takings have been worse in the North American market with a mere USD62 million made two weeks in. It will be a challenge for the producers to break even on the project unless global takings can hit USD500 million, based on an investment of USD170 million and the general revenue-sharing ratio.
Alita's performance in China has been hampered by competition. The Wandering Earth, a domestic sci-fi flick which hit the screen before Alita, has already earned over CNY4 billion at the box office, making it the second-most successful domestic movie ever after Wolf Warriors 2. The Green Book, which just won the Academy Award for Best Picture, and the highly acclaimed animation How to Train Your Dragon 3 will also hit screens simultaneously this week.
Another factor which contributed to Alita's gloomy box office run is James Cameron's decision not to direct the film himself. He authorized famed director Robert Rodriguez to direct as he was busy making the Avatar sequel.
Alita didn't surprise the audience as much as Avatar, pointed out Xia Ni, a fan of James Cameron and founder of ManLian Creative & Technology. "Alita involved the creation of extremely realistic computer animation characters but your typical movie-goer may not know how difficult the production process actually was. "
Editor: William Clegg