It’s another sole entrant this Box Office weekend, with the ‘The Fast and The Furious’ franchise spin-off ‘Hobbs & Shaw’ aiming to crash ‘The Lion King’s threepeat party atop the charts. It’s the action blockbuster release we’ve hoped for from a summer period surprisingly lacking in the genre this year, with the last arriving via ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ a month ago. Unlike ‘Spider-Man’ however, ‘Hobbs and Shaw’ won’t be cruising to a $100m opening in its 1st 3 days, but should still comfortably finish 1st on the podium.
So, what’s opening this weekend?
This weekend belongs to ‘Hobbs and Shaw’, the 1st spin-off of Universal’s ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise (if you don’t count ‘Tokyo Drift’), a franchise which has only gone from strength to strength – especially after it’s ‘Fast Five’ renaissance. The numbers certainly bare this out: while the 8 films so far have made a whopping $1.5bn domestically (over $1bn since ‘Fast Five’), it’s the international totals that have truly made the franchise the 10th biggest series in global history, with $5.1bn.
Since the films started back in 2001, the shift in gear from drag races and car chases to heists and high-stakes has been as evident as the change in leads, as stars Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham have become the headliners, ahead of Vin Diesel and of course, the late Paul Walker. Although not a popular move, especially with the F&F cast, it’s easy to see why the 2 are now fronting their own spinoff – as mentioned before, the overseas market is critical, and the pair are some of the only movie stars in the world that attract cinemagoers from multiple international countries with their sheer presence. No wonder their names are front and centre in the movie’s title.
The film’s promotion has understandably honed in on this too, with the pair’s ‘frenemies’ dynamic splashed across trailers, posters, videos and more. It’s an interesting, albeit expected, move considering the raft of talent the film has, such as Idris Elba as main villain ‘Brixton’, Vanessa Kirby, Helen Mirren, and Deadpool 2’ director David Leitch at the helm.
Of course, this all doesn’t guarantee success, and infact many are questioning just how well the film can do. Universal have decided to spend $200m on an offshoot of a franchise that may be suffering from diminished returns, after all. While the series peaked with ‘Furious 7’ 4 years ago ($147.2m opening, $353m domestic, $1.52bn worldwide), 2017 follow-up ‘Fate of the Furious’ opened to $50m less on its way to a $226m U.S. total, and a $1.23bn global finish.
How wise was it to have such a bloated budget on this? We’ll see by Sunday night, as the film hopes to open to $70m, in a similar vein to recent summer action hits like ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ ($61.2m). Whether it does or doesn’t, most eyes will be on its international start, where Johnson and Statham can truly flex their Box Office muscles, and which could top $200m without China, where it opens in 3 weeks.
What else is on?
‘The Lion King’ will no longer be number 1 at the end of the weekend, but will still earn a respectable $41m in its 3rd outing. Having passed $1bn on Tuesday, and $400m domestic by Saturday, the film has set its sights on claiming top spot in an entirely new field: Disney’s live-action remakes. ‘Beauty and the Beast’s $504m U.S. gross and $1.26bn worldwide total isn’t far away from ‘Lion King’s paws, and by next month, we’ll be crowning a new king of the jungle.
Finally, Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ will comfortably make 3rd place this weekend, earning a solid $20m for a likely $80m total by Sunday night.