‘Hobbs & Shaw’ Muscles Its Way To No.1 In The Box Office

Whilst this film is not ‘Fast & Furious, studios bosses at Universal pumped $200 million into the production of the series’ first spin-off, ‘Hobbs & Shaw.’ And if the opening weekend box office is any indication then it’s a good investment. 


With a strong opening weekend estimated to be at $60.8 million, ‘Hobbs & Shaw,’ starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, didn’t open to ‘Fast’ numbers, but still did really damn great. And to be honest, it would be totally unfair to compare the ‘F&F’ spin-off to its big brother franchise and its billion-dollar sequels. So, while it is likely not to reach $1 billion worldwide, Universal can happily say that the potential for ‘Fast & Furious’ spin-offs is pretty great.

With an ‘A-’ CinemaScore and a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 67% (not great at all, but pretty decent for a big, dumb action film), it appears that the world is perfectly accepting of a ‘Fast’ film without Vin Diesel and Tyrese Gibson (much to the chagrin of these actors). But the coming weeks will really inform Universal about how much money the studio should set aside for these spin-offs because it’s clear that ‘Hobbs & Shaw’ might end up being a bit too costly.

Internationally, the film is said to have scored $120 million in its opening weekend, giving the film a $181 million global debut. Not shabby at all. Especially when you consider that China has yet to debut the film, and the Middle Kingdom is an unabashed ‘Fast & Furious’-friendly country. And judging by the domestic debut, Universal is hoping that the Chinese pull through and keep the profitability of ‘Hobbs & Shaw’ up to where it wants the film.

As mentioned, it’s being reported that ‘Hobbs’ cost $200 to produce with an estimated $160 in marketing, making the total cost for the studio $360 million. Deadline is reporting that “breakeven” for this film sits at around $600 million. That might seem like a ton of money, but when you compare it to the ‘Fast’ franchise, as a whole, it’s not an unheard-of number, at all. In fact, depending on the international cume, the film could be looking upwards of $750 million. If that’s the case, then Universal will gladly keep making ‘Hobbs’ films and keep plans for more spin-offs.

However, just to play Devil’s advocate, if the spin-off doesn’t reach that $600 million mark, the studio could reevaluate the expectations of these ‘Fast’ offshoots. Maybe bring that budget down significantly and you still have a winning formula. Or how about making sure The Rock shows up in all the spin-offs, as he’s the driving force for many to shell out money for ‘Hobbs?’ Either way, if the film doesn’t quite make the money Universal wants, some discussions will have to happen.

One place where all the discussions are positive is over at Disney, as “The Lion King” continues to earn huge money, pulling in another $38 million in its third week and currently sitting with a domestic total of $431 million. Globally, in less than a month, the “hyper-real” remake has earned a ridiculous $1.2 billion, the second-highest total for the year. If “Avengers: Endgame” wasn’t in the picture, we could be looking at ‘Lion King’ being the clear box office champ in 2019. Alas, Disney will just have to settle with amazingly great instead of world-dominating. Champagne problems, as they say.

Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” was able to have a decent -51% hold for its second weekend, earning another $20 million. The film currently stands at $79 million after 10 days and is just behind “Pulp Fiction,” “Inglourious Basterds,” and “Django Unchained,” in the director’s box office history. Of course, to reach ‘Django’ levels, ‘Once Upon a Time’ would need a long theatrical run to reach the aforementioned film’s $163 million domestic total. Depending on the fall awards season discussion, we could be seeing ‘Once Upon a Time’ carry over into the coming months, still earning decent cash. But time will tell the story of Tarantino’s love letter to Hollywood.

Lulu Wang’s “The Farewell” kept expanding this week, now clocking in at 409 locations, and earned a hefty $2.43 million in its fourth weekend. The family drama currently holds a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes among critics, and among the “verified” audience score, “The Farewell” has an 89%. This says that basically anyone who is seeing the film is enjoying it and all A24 has to keep doing is making sure that people know the film is out there.

Among the other limited releases this weekend, the big winner is the Octavia Spencer/Naomi Watts drama “Luce.” Debuting in only 5 locations, “Luce” had a per-theater-average of $26,583. A pretty decent beginning for the drama, which is obviously going to expand in the weeks to come.

Next weekend, there are several new wide-release entries including the highly-anticipated period crime drama “The Kitchen,” Guillermo del Toro-produced “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” children’s action-adventure film “Dora and the Lost City of Gold, and two family-friendly dramas “The Art of Racing in the Rain” and “Brian Banks.” Obviously, none of these are likely going to contend with the second weekend of ‘Hobbs & Shaw,’ but who knows?

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Stevie Flavio
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