Tarantino’s back from a 4 year absence with his 9th feature film, ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ – the sole entrant of this Box Office weekend. Looking to become the legendary director’s biggest ever opening, it’ll have to face-off against the Disney giant ‘The Lion King’, whose July-record opening of $192m only 7 days ago could precede another $100m weekend. If so, it’ll become just the 6th film in U.S. history to have 2 weekends hit the century mark – and the 5th from Disney.
So, what’s opening this weekend?
‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’, Quentin Tarantino’s latest release, hits U.S. cinemas on Friday with hopes of bettering ‘Inglorious Basterds’ $38.1m opening from 2009 – the director’s biggest yet. It’s almost baffling to couple this up with the film’s summer release; how can Sony think to drop a semi-historical drama, from a man who’s never opened to $40m, in the middle of the summer blockbuster season, just 7 days after Disney’s latest effort became the 8th biggest of all time? Surely placing high hopes on ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ is itself just a fairytale?
The film’s cast certainly explains part of the story. Bursting with talent, ‘Once Upon a Time’ features the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio in his 1st role since his Oscar-winning performance in ‘The Revenant’, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Dakota Fanning, Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, and many more. It’s Tarantino’s 1st film since 2015 too, leaving nearly half a decade for fans to go hungry for a new movie.
It also helps that the film’s an absolute hit with the critics. Not like Tarantino’s films aren’t usually, but according to the Tomatometer, ‘Once Upon a Time’ is his most critically-acclaimed release yet, with its 93% on the Tomatometer beating out ‘Pulp Fiction’s 92%. Such is the consistency of rave reviews for Quentin’s movies that Sony are happy for ‘Once Upon a Time’ to go toe-to-toe with the big boys.
Well, not exactly toe-to-toe. It’s the only release of the weekend, with main competition being in the PG ‘The Lion King’, whose family audience couldn’t differ any more from ‘Once Upon a Time’s late-teen to adult viewership. Tarantino himself has seen his films gross a combined $1.5bn at the global Box Office, showcasing his talent as a slow-burner, rather than a big opener.
‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ should, in theory, now open to around $35m, but leg out to over $100m in the coming weeks. It’ll need to if it’s to bury that enormous $90m budget, and reach the promised land of profitability. Sony won’t worry though, because if we’ve learned anything from Tarantino’s Box Office receipts in the past, fairytales usually have a happy ending.
What else is on?
Apart from the lone Tarantino release, this weekend again belongs to ‘The Lion King’, Disney’s record-breaking remake which aims to become only the 6th film ever to have earn at least $100m in its 2nd weekend. Although it’s no ‘Endgame’, ‘Infinity War’, ‘The Force Awakens’, ‘Black Panther’, or ‘Jurassic World’ (it’s the only ‘rotten’ one on the Tomatometer, for instance), it is part of the successful Disney live-action remake clan, meaning if ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Jungle Book’ are anything to go by, a sub-50% drop this weekend is in store.
If this does happen, and ‘The Lion King’ optimistically drops by just 48% going into the 2nd weekend, then $100m exactly is on the cards, and Disney notch another tally onto its lamppost of domination. It won’t though, but its forecasted $96m is more than enough for a comfortable weekend win.