Well, what do you know? It's that rarest of rare 2019 box office weekends where we see a great story and result from a studio not named Disney. All it took was a bit of celebrity and a highly anticipated film from a director prone to draw fanboys in the first place.
Friday Box Office Analysis
By Kim Hollis
July 27, 2019
But we'll get to that pleasant success in just a moment. Repeating in the top spot this weekend will be The Lion King, Disney's CGI remake of one of their most beloved animated pictures of all-time. After debuting with $191.7 million last weekend, The Lion King saw a pretty heady decline from last Friday's $77.9 million all the way down to $22.3 million. Yes, that's a 71 percent drop, but remember that The Lion King had a huge night for Thursday previews. It's going to recover some over the remainder of the weekend, and I'd estimate it'll come in with around $75 million according to Disney estimates. It'll actually probably earn closer to $80 million, but they just like to stay low with their numbers. I guess it makes for a better story long term.
By the way, as you read this, The Lion King will have already passed the $300 million mark domestically, which is a pretty phenomenal place to be. Six films have earned that much in 2019, and Disney had a hand in each and every one of them. Yes, Spider-Man is Sony, but we know that he's back to his previous heights because the studio allowed Disney to include him in the Avengers.
Quentin Tarantino has developed into one of the few "celebrity" directors still working in the industry, and with every film, he develops more and more of an audience. Unlike directors like Steven Spielberg, Tarantino's audience is absolutely loyal and follows him from project to project. It probably helps that he's developed an ongoing relationship with performers such as Brad Pitt (Inglourious Basterds) and Leonardo DiCaprio (Django Unchained).
With Friday box office of $16.9 million (including $5.8 million from Thursday previews), Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood is going to pull in around $40 million for the weekend. That'll be the biggest opening of Tarantino's career, besting the previous highest earner, Inglourious Basterds (and my personal favorite of his films).
One surprise film entered the top ten. The Farewell, a film featuring Awkafina in a story about a young writer who clashes with her family over Chinese cultural beliefs after her grandmother receives a cancer diagnosis that the family refuses to share with the elderly woman. It earned $471,000 million yesterday and should come in with around $1.2 million.