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The young Viking Hiccup and his beloved dragon Toothless are back for the third, and final, time on the big screen.
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World should have no trouble flying to No. 1 over Oscar weekend a with $40 million-plus debut, enough to beat holdover Alita: Battle Angel.
The CGI-animated threequel is the first DreamWorks Animation title released and marketed by Universal since buying Jeffrey Katzenberg’s company.
The Hidden World has earned rave reviews from critics, in addition to already grossing north of $175 million overseas.
“Pulling off a rare three-peat, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is a tender, spirited, coming-of-age CG-animated feature that proves every bit as emotionally resonant and artistically rendered as its 2010 and 2014 predecessors,” writes The Hollywood Reporter film critic Michael Rechtshaffen in his review.
Director-writer Dean DeBlois returns to helm the final installment of the family-friendly trilogy, while the voice cast is led by Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Cate Blanchett, Craig Ferguson and F. Murray Abraham. The story follows Hiccup as he tries to save the dragons from overpopulation by finding a new utopia-like home. Along the way, an evil warlord tries to kidnap Toothless, who is distracted by a new romance.
The weekend’s other new nationwide offering is the Dwayne Johnson-produced Fighting With My Family, a WWE biographical drama based on the life and career of professional wrestler Paige (Florence Pugh). In addition to producing, Johnson stars in the MGM film, which posted strong numbers last weekend when opening in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles.
Fighting With My Family, which premiered last month at the Sundance Film Festival, is tracking to open in the $7 million-$10 million range.
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