After a record-breaking opening weekend, ‘The Lion King’ took a remarkably steep 60% plunge in its second frame. $75.5-76.5 million is a great haul, but there were some that thought it might be a rare movie to make over $100M in its second weekend. (‘Avengers: Endgame’ was the last film to do so. ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Jurassic World’ also managed it.) But with such a massive opening, the drop-off was bound to be steep. (‘Avengers: Endgame’ dropped 59%.) It looks like what may have helped it last week may be what’s dragging it down now — the fact that it’s essentially a straight remake of the 1994 animated original with nothing new added. Fans wanted “faithful” and that’s what they got, and that’s what they praised with an A CinemaScore and 4 out of 5 stars via PostTrak. But non-diehards don’t want to pay for something they’ve seen before, no matter how “photorealistic” it is.
Quentin Tarantino‘s ‘Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood’ shimmied its way to $40.3M, making this his biggest opening ever, topping ‘Inglorious Basterds’ $38M. Adult counterprogramming has not worked out this summer, but it looks as though the combined star power of Gen X idol Tarantino, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and rising favorite Margot Robbie (plus the reported $110M Sony spent promoting it) was powerful enough to draw older moviegoers, the audience that tends to be slowest to drift to theaters. 79% were over the age of 25. But in this case, it is being reported that some Tarantino diehards have already seen it in theaters twice or thrice since Thursday!
Perhaps it’s the great reviews. ‘Once Upon A Time…’ is certified fresh with 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, on what happened to be the 25th anniversary of ‘Pulp Fiction’s screening, which launched Tarantino into superstar status. Upon its premiere, the press started buzzing that ‘Once Upon a Time…’ is a surefire Oscar contender. Once they’ve seen it, audiences are in agreement, giving it 4 out of 5 stars via PostTrak and a B CinemaScore.
The #3 movie is Hollywood’s latest billion-dollar baby, ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’. This Sony/Disney collaboration notched another $12.2M this weekend, and this is now the highest-grossing ‘Spider-Man’ movie yet. This isn’t the only flick to hit that magical $1 billion mark this week. But first…
- The Lion King (Disney) – $75.5M
- Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood (Sony) – $40.3M
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (Sony) – $12.2M
- Toy Story 4 (Disney) – $9.8M
- Crawl (Paramount) – $4M
Disney’s prior live-action adaptation, ‘Aladdin’ also crossed the $1 billion mark at the global box office. This film opened big and managed to hover quietly in the Top Five as other big summer movies came and went. There might not have been a lot of noise around ‘Aladdin’, but it was a quality film that impressed audiences and positive word-of-mouth helped it leg out in the long run.
Late summer can be a great time for pure escapist fun and/or guilty pleasures, so next week’s big new release will be ‘Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw’ starring Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, and Idris Elba, which is tracking to open in the $65M range.
There might be some overlap in this movie’s audience and that of ‘Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood’, so that picture’s strong opening and buzz could draw a few audience members away from ‘Hobbs & Shaw’, but probably not enough to make that big an impact.
Check back to see how things go.