Alita: Battle Angel, a movie that’s been on Blu-ray and digital since July 2019, is headed back to theaters in the midst of a deadly pandemic. Why? Who’s to say, really? But while the film was not a hit in the U.S., it did well overseas and it’s developed a steady fan following. This could all be a test: if Alita does well in re-release, perhaps a sequel will be greenlit. Or it could just be an attempt to fill the void at the box office right now since so many movies have been pushed due to the coronavirus.
James Cameron took some time off from swimming around in the giant Avatar sequel swimming pools to tell everyone that Alita: Battle Angel would be returning to theaters on October 30, 2020. Of course, this begs the question: which theaters? Regal is shutting down their theaters in the U.S., and while AMC is staying open, as of now, only CineMark has the Alita re-release on their website.
Released in 2019, Alita: Battle Angel is set several centuries in the future, where “the abandoned Alita is found in the scrapyard of Iron City by Ido, a compassionate cyber-doctor who takes the unconscious cyborg Alita to his clinic. When Alita awakens, she has no memory of who she is, nor does she have any recognition of the world she finds herself in. As Alita learns to navigate her new life and the treacherous streets of Iron City, Ido tries to shield her from her mysterious past.”
The movie was not a success in the United States, grossing only $85.7 million on a $170 million budget. However, it was a big hit overseas, where it raked in over $400 million worldwide. Since then, the movie has developed a large online fanbase who have been clamoring for a sequel. This re-release could be a way to gauge just how strong that support is – will fans venture to theaters during a pandemic to watch this? If so, maybe that will finally be enough to give a sequel a greenlight. Of course, the re-release could also be because there aren’t many new movies to release at the moment since so many 2020 titles have been shuffled off to 2021.
Directed by Robert Rodrigeuz and written by James Cameron and Laeta Kalogridis, Alita: Battle Angel stars Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley, and Keean Johnson. It’s what I’d call an “okay” movie. It’s not terrible, it’s not great, it’s fine! Is it worth risking your life for right now? Probably not.
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