An Alita Sequel Isn't Greenlit Yet - And Will Depend On Box Office
Although there are clearly plans for an Alita: Battle Angel sequel, it hasn't been green-lit yet. Whether another movie happens will depend entirely on whether the first is a success at the box office, something that's very much up in the air.
Box office projections for Alita predict a $20 million opening weekend in the US, an absolute disaster considering the movie cost upwards of $200 million to produce; to break even accounting for promotion and distribution, a movie must make double its budget (in this case, $400 million), meaning Alita is tracking to be a major box office bomb. However, a reprieve could come from China; Battle Angel has had a big push in the ever-important market and has all the makings of a breakout hit when it opens on February 22. The film's already pulling good numbers in other Asian territories, so its possible a US failure could be offset by international tickets. If they're big enough, a sequel could still be green-lit. Although there's another complication closer to home.
Disney Buying Fox Makes Alita 2 Even More Complicated
Alita: Battle Angel is 20th Century Fox release. In fact, it may be the company's last release; Disney's purchase of Fox's movie & TV assets is nearing completion, after which the Mouse House will distribute all completed Fox films and have final say on whether those in development move into production.
This means that the decision on Alita 2 actually comes down to Disney, which even with a China box office smash makes a sequel more unlikely; the poor domestic performance will surely be a turn off for a company that now has a lot more properties to play with. That said, Alita's brand potential and connections to James Cameron's Avatar sequels - which are set to be a new jewel in Disney's crown - may give sequel chances a boost.
When Could Alita 2 Release?
Even if Alita 2 was green-lit today, it would still be a long time until the movie actually released. Alita: Battle Angel had 20-year development, and even after the ball was rolling with director Robert Rodriguez it took two-and-a-half years from rolling cameras to release. Much of that is a result of pre-production delays and technological advancements, both of which would be greatly reduced on a sequel, but even then it would take two-to-three years for a movie to be completed. All that means an Alita: Battle Angel sequel would likely release in 2022 at the earliest.
In the modern blockbuster landscape with new Marvel movies every few months, that's a lifetime, and may further see the project viewed as a gamble if there's questionable interest in the immediate future. For now, Alita: Battle Angel fans should make the most of the IMAX 3D spectacle currently in theaters.