'Lion King' Ready to Repeat as Tarantino's 'Once Upon a Time...' Debuts
by Brad Brevet
July 25, 2019
SATURDAY AM UPDATE: Sony's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood delivered an estimated $16.85 million on Friday, including $5.8 million from Thursday night previews. At this time, the film is looking at a $40-42 million debut. Opening day audiences gave the film a "B" CinemaScore.
You can check out all of the Friday estimates right here and we'll be back tomorrow morning with a complete look at the weekend.
FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Sony's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is already looking like some of our pre-release signals were actually on to something as the film took in an impressive $5.8 million from Thursday previews beginning at 4PM in ~3,300 locations. The performance is actually $300k ahead of Dunkirk's preview grosses ahead of that film's $50.5 million debut in July two years ago. As we pointed out in our preview below, IMDb page views showed Once Upon a Time outpacing Dunkirk over the two weeks leading up to release. This is also well ahead of the $3.25 million in previews for The Great Gatsby, which opened in May of 2013 with $50 million. This is not to say Once Upon a Time is on its way to a $50+ million opening, but these preview grosses are a very good sign that a $40-45+ million opening may be in the future.
We'll take a closer look at things tomorrow morning once Friday estimates come in. For now you can check out our weekend preview below.
WEEKEND PREVIEW: Last weekend turned up the heat on the 2019 summer box office, which, despite some disappointing performances, currently stands as the fourth highest grossing summer movie season of all-time at the domestic box office and this weekend looks to keep the ball rolling. Disney's The Lion King is ready to repeat atop the weekend box office following last weekend's record debut, while Sony's release of Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood looks to deliver some R-rated counter-programming for those interested in a little something that falls a bit outside the summer blockbuster corridor.
The Lion King delivered a monster debut last weekend and has already topped $260 million domestically after six days in release. A look at the second weekend for 2017's Beauty and the Beast shows that film dipping just -48% in its second weekend after a $174.7 million debut. The Lion King not only outperformed Beauty over its opening weekend, but it has done extraordinary numbers ever since, which has us thinking a dip around -51% isn't at all unrealistic and would result in a three-day around $94 million and a domestic cume nearing $370 million after ten days in release.
Looking at a second place finish is Quentin Tarantinos' Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Sony is set to debut the film in 3,659 theaters, which will be the widest launch for a Tarantino film ever, nearly 500 theaters more than Inglourious Basterds, which remains Tarantino's largest opening weekend ever with $38 million. As for Once Upon a Time..., Sony is anticipating a launch around $30 million with industry expectations looking for a debut anywhere from $26-31 million. We aren't currently expecting anything below $30 million, but we also feel it's important to remain cautious when forecasting for this title given the performances we've seen so far this year, even though we are expecting this one to debut a bit higher than expected.
Some of the data we've looked at has been quite positive with Once Upon a Time... outperforming the likes of The Great Gatsby, Murder on the Orient Express and even Dunkirk when we look at IMDb page views over the two weeks leading up to release. However, a look at The Hateful Eight's IMDb page view performance shows it too outperformed those same titles and was still only able to manage a $15.7 million opening weekend. Additionally, and on top of the R-rating, one final factor to take into account is the film's lengthy, two hour and 41 minute running time, which is going to limit just how many showings can take place in a day. That said, our current expectation is a debut anywhere from $32-35 million and we're going to forecast on the high end of that range and won't be a bit surprised if it goes either a bit higher or lower.
Once Upon a Time will hold preview screenings on Thursday starting at 4PM in approximately 3,300 locations.
Sony will also land the third place film with Spider-Man: Far from Home looking at a weekend around $12.7 million (-40%), which will not only be enough to push its domestic total to $345 million, but the film is expected to top $1 billion worldwide by the end of today.
Disney and Pixar's Toy Story 4 is also creeping up on $1 billion in worldwide box office sales and it will be landing in the fourth place spot on this weekend's domestic charts with $10 million or so as it's domestic cume should top $395 million by the end of the weekend.
Rounding out the top five will most likely be Universal's Yesterday for the third straight week in a row. The $26 million production has already topped $100 million worldwide and should add another $3.5 million or so this weekend for a domestic cume right around $64 million.
Also be on the lookout for A24's The Farewell, which is expanding into 135 locations (+100) this weekend after delivering a top twelve performance at least weekend's box office from just 35 locations. We're forecasting a +32% bump this weekend and a spot in the top ten.
In limited release, Magnolia will debut the documentary Mike Wallace is Here; Neon will be releasing Honeyland in two locations; and A24 will also be going into two theaters with Skin starring Jamie Bell.
This weekend's forecast is directly below. This post will be updated on Friday morning with Thursday night preview results followed by Friday estimates on Saturday morning, and a complete weekend recap on Sunday morning.
- The Lion King (4,725 theaters) - $94.0 M
- Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (3,659 theaters) - $35.0 M
- Spider-Man: Far from Home (3,851 theaters) - $12.7 M
- Toy Story 4 (3,610 theaters) - $10.3 M
- Yesterday (2,542 theaters) - $3.5 M
- Crawl (2,720 theaters) - $3.2 M
- Aladdin (1,798 theaters) - $2.8 M
- Stuber (2,150 theaters) - $1.7 M
- The Farewell (135 theaters) - $1.5 M
- Annabelle Comes Home (1,287 theaters) - $1.3 M
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