Producer James Cameron and director Robert Rodriguez’ years-long project, “Alita: Battle Angel,” may have impressive ticket sales, but the manga-based film missed the predicted $500 million sales mark, especially with the premiere of “Captain Marvel.”

Cameron’s touch is evident in every aspect of “Alita: Battle Angel.” The CGI technology, a futuristic view and the visually stunning effects are all signatures of Cameron. On the opposite is Rodriguez, who stamped the film with realistic action sequences and a darker theme. Rodriguez’s style covers “neo-punk” films and usually works with small-budget movies. The solid collaboration of Cameron and Rodriguez led to the movie’s box office breaker predictions.

“Alita: Battle Angel” debuted with $27 million domestically and had a total of $43 million over the President’s Day weekend. The film adaptation runs currently on its fifth week, gaining a total of $81.8 million domestically. The movie performed better on foreign market with opening sales of $31.5 million and a total of $312 million sales.

The figures looked impressive, but several critics argued that the movie lagged behind the box office expectations. Considering “Alita: Battle Angel” is a product of Cameron, who is known for turning films into solid gold hits, it should somehow not have failed in the profit terms.

Cameron's passion project was made from a $170 million budget, on top of its marketing and distribution costs. The total reported expenses for the movie reached $200 million, an absolute risk for the investors. For the movie to at least break even, it has to reach the $400 million mark. With its current box office status at $394 million one month after its release, the movie is still a few steps away from breaking even.

What could have stopped “Alita: Battle Angel” from breaking box office records? Prior to its debut, the film was bombarded with average reviews. Critics from Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie a 59% total score. New York Times critic Manohla Dargis described the film as “a pile of clichés.” Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers called the film a “bummer” and claimed it should not be called a movie but should rather be called a fragment for a sequel. “‘Alita: Battle Angel’ looks ready to rock, but time has sucked the life out of the party,” Travers added.

But Fox’s decision to release it during the President’s Day weekend without any rivals scored a win for the film. The film premiered a week after “Glass” and a few weeks before “Captain Marvel.” But “Alita: Battle Angle” came out slow on the President’s Day weekend and is expected to be more sluggish with the coming release of “Shazaam” and “Us.”