Long Range Forecast: Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood

Image Courtesy of Sony Pictures

Our long range report this week focuses on the highly anticipated ninth film from Quentin Tarantino, slated for release on July 26.

In addition, we’ve updated a number of projections in the chart below — most notably Toy Story 4, which this week eclipsed first-day Fandango pre-sales benchmarks of films like Incredibles 2 and Finding Dory.

Once Upon a Time In… Hollywood
Opening Weekend Range: $40 – 60 million


  • The combined star power of Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, and Quentin Tarantino himself instantly makes this worthy of “tentpole” distinction, standing apart even more as it aims for adult moviegoers during the typically youth-friendly summer season.
  • Early reviews following the movie’s premiere at Cannes are ecstatic with 94 percent of 62 Rotten Tomatoes critics awarding it a fresh rating, including praise for the work of all key players involved and Tarantino’s continued evolution as one of cinema’s most original storytellers.
  • Competition for the adult audience — particularly those not looking for a special effects-driven blockbuster — will be minimal in late summer, offering plenty of runway for the film to leg out a solid multiple even if Tarantino fans drive opening weekend business.
  • Initial box office comps include the likes of Dunkirk, an original film sold largely on Christopher Nolan’s directorial namesake, which opened to $50.5 million in July 2017. Similarly, Tarantino’s own Inglourious Basterds (his highest traditional weekend opener to date) bowed to $38.1 million in late August 2009 — which adjusts to over $46 million based on 2019 ticket prices.
  • Additional comps include DiCaprio’s impressive history as one of the most reliable and consistent box office draws in the industry, particularly over the last decade. His career-best openers thus far include Inception ($62.8 million) and The Great Gatsby ($50.1 million), followed by Shutter Island ($41.1 million), The Revenant‘s wide expansion ($39.8 million), and Django Unchained ($30.1 million).
  • The R rating skews comparisons to other adult-aimed late summer hits like the Mission: Impossible, Planet of the Apes, Jason Bourne, and Star Trek franchises — all of which had PG-13 ratings friendly to teen audiences interested in them. That being said, this is another example of a film whose R rating is arguably a strength given what moviegoers expect from a Tarantino film.
  • Social media buzz has ignited following the most recent trailer release, with the film’s Instagram account adding 20,700 followers during the week of May 23 – May 30 (for a total of 152,000 thus far).
  • Early comparisons to the tone of Pulp Fiction are encouraging toward box office prospects given that film remains his best overall performer at the box office, earning $107.9 million domestically in 1994-1995, adjusting to nearly $230 million in 2019 ticket prices. Django ($162.8 million actual / $185 million adjusted) and Basterds ($120.5 million actual / $145 million adjusted) follow it.


  • Opening one week before Hobbs & Shaw — which is expected to post a strong opening weekend — could slightly dilute business among adult men, which this film reportedly will appeal strongest to.
  • Although not necessarily a negative point, the distance from Oscar season likely eliminates much of an award season boost at the box office — essentially the same situation Basterds found itself in ten years ago when it earned a (still highly respectable) 3.16x multiplier from its first August weekend toward a $120.5 million domestic finish. Hollywood‘s opening one month earlier in the summer than that film, however, could give it a longer runway for legs.
  • Again, if there’s any minor downside to note, it’s the question of how the run time and/or industry-friendly subject material will play among audiences outside coastal regions compared to the way Basterds and Django attracted diverse audiences around the country.

8-Week Forecasts

Release Date Title 3-Day Wide Release Tracking % Chg from Last Week Domestic Total Forecast % Chg from Last Week Estimated Location Count Distributor
6/7/2019 Dark Phoenix $50,000,000   $118,000,000   3,500 Fox
6/7/2019 Late Night n/a   n/a   n/a Amazon Studios
6/7/2019 The Secret Life of Pets 2 $68,000,000 -3% $238,000,000 -3% 4,400 Universal
6/14/2019 Men In Black International $41,000,000 5% $112,500,000 5% 4,000 Sony / Columbia
6/14/2019 Shaft (2019) $24,000,000 -14% $69,000,000 -14% 3,300 Warner Bros.
6/21/2019 Anna $6,000,000 NEW $17,000,000 NEW   Lionsgate / Summit
6/21/2019 Child’s Play (2019) $18,000,000 6% $42,500,000     Orion Pictures
6/21/2019 Toy Story 4 $151,000,000 29% $495,000,000 27%   Disney / Pixar
6/26/2019 Annabelle Comes Home $31,000,000   $101,000,000     Warner Bros. / New Line
6/28/2019 Yesterday n/a   n/a     Universal
7/2/2019 Spider-Man: Far from Home $120,000,000   $405,000,000     Sony / Columbia / Marvel Studios
7/3/2019 Midsommar n/a   n/a     A24
7/12/2019 Crawl $18,000,000   $47,000,000     Paramount
7/12/2019 Stuber $17,500,000   $65,000,000     Fox
7/19/2019 The Lion King (2019) $201,000,000   $650,000,000     Disney
7/26/2019 Brahms: The Boy 2 n/a   n/a     STX
7/26/2019 Once Upon a Time In… Hollywood $50,000,000 NEW $165,000,000 NEW   Sony / Columbia

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Alex Edghill & Jesse Rifkin contributed to this report

Image Courtesy of Sony Pictures

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