Box Office: 'How to Train Your Dragon 3' Soaring to Series-Best $58M to $60M Bow
The Dwayne Johnson-produced 'Fighting With My Family' is likewise a crowd-pleaser in its nationwide debut.
Thank the young viking Hiccup and the dragon Toothless for turning around a slump at the 2019 North American box office.
DreamWorks Animation's family offering How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World took off with $17.5 million at the Friday box office for a projected debut of $60 million or more over Oscar weekend, the top opening of the year to date and a franchise best.
The CGI-animated threequel is the first DWA title released and marketed by Universal since it bought the company from Jeffrey Katzenberg. The first film in the trilogy opened to $43.7 million domestically in 2010, followed by How to Train Your Dragon 2 with $49.9 million in 2014, not adjusted for inflation.
Director-writer Dean DeBlois returns to helm the final installment of the Dragon 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 movie is buoyed by rave reviews and an A CinemaScore from audiences. It's also playing in a near-record 4,259 theaters.
Overseas, How to Train Your Dragon 3 has already amassed north of $185 million.
Alita: Battle Angel, from 20th Century Fox and producer James Cameron, will follow in second place with a projected sophomore outing of $11 million. The sci-fi tentpole looks to fall around 60 percent.
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is expected to come in third place with $9.5 million. Isn't It Romantic should earn roughly $8 million for a fourth-place finish.
The weekend's other new nationwide offering, the Dwayne Johnson-produced Fighting With My Family, will round out the top five with an estimated $7.8 million.The movie, likewise earning an A CinemaScore, is expanding into a total of 2,711 theaters after first opening last weekend in Los Angeles and New York.
The WWE biographical drama, based on the life and career of professional wrestler Paige (Florence Pugh), earned $2.6 million Friday.