Makers of big-budget Alita: Battle Angel are 'happy with it'

Big-budget action film Alita: Battle Angel may have garnered lukewarm reviews, but the film-makers behind the manga-inspired movie envisioned by Hollywood bigwig James Cameron have said they are delighted with how it has turned out.

Showing here, the movie about the titular cyborg heroine in a post-apocalyptic world has been more than 15 years in the making with a budget of between US$150 million (S$200 million) and US$200 million.

Co-producer Jon Landau said the makers would not judge its success by box-office numbers and felt they had delivered the movie they wanted.

"We are our biggest critics," he said. "If we're happy with the movie, we've done our job. I think not only are we happy with it, but James Cameron is happy with it and Yukito Kishiro (the Japanese writer whose manga series the movie is based on), who could be our biggest critic of all, is thrilled with it."

Cameron first wrote a script for Alita in 2004 but handed the movie over to director Robert Rodriguez to focus on long-delayed sequels to the 2009 blockbuster Avatar.

Hollywood entertainment website The Wrap reported last week that Alita: Battle Angel was expected to take in a modest US$25 million over five days when it opens in North America on Feb 14.

"It's in that battle-cruiser class of budgets, there's no question about it, so yeah, the stakes are high," Cameron said. "If people show up we're definitely going to do at least one more, if not two. It's mapped out for three in total."

Rodriguez added: "There's a lot riding on it but you never know if it does really well, people come out to see it and people want more."

He said the biggest challenge was finding the right actress to play the lead part of Alita, an angel of death played by Rosa Salazar, with computer-generated imagery.

"We can put up all the scale and spectacle on the screen, but (there's no point) if we don't have somebody to carry the heart and empathy of the movie. Rosa was the shining light that showed us the way," Rodriguez said. - REUTERS