Weekend Forecast: Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood Set for Healthy Debut In the Wake of The Lion King

July’s final frame is home to only one new wide release, Quentin Tarantino’s anticipated ninth film, while last week’s champion looks to defend the box office crown.

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood is the latest star-studded ensemble from one of cinema’s most celebrated and influential filmmakers. It’s that kind of star power, in an era dominated by franchises, which could help propel it this weekend and in the months ahead. Why? Because while original films aimed at adults don’t typically generate massive moviegoer turnout on opening weekend, Tarantino and his leading men — Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt — are ultimately the brand names on display here.

Our previous long range analysis on Tarantino’s had been taking a bullish outlook given the aforementioned marquee names and lack of direct competition at this point on the schedule. Still, as this summer has shown a number of times, tracking is far from a perfect science.

One element factoring into our forecasts this week more heavily than before is the fact that Hollywood‘s marketing campaign has left something to be desired. That, however, may be by design since the filmmaker himself asked media and the studio not to spoil the film after its Cannes Film Festival premiere back in May — but it’s an important aspect given this film’s (arguably) heavier lean on the names of its talent than the more direct hook of Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained.

That being said, if the film’s strong reviews translate across general moviegoers, even an opening in the $30 million+ range could easily lead to a strong multiplier through the end of summer and early fall for the $90 million budgeted production. We’re still on the more bullish end of expectations, though, given the pedigree of talent involved and outcry for adult-driven fare in the heart summer popcorn season.

For reference, Sony is expecting $30 million on the dot this weekend, and it’s important to keep in mind the film’s R rating, 2 hour 45 minute run time, and lack of many premium format screens to boost average ticket prices.

Meanwhile, The Lion King is fresh off its July record — and eighth best ever — opening weekend of $191.8 million. With no new competition for family audiences, a firm grip on IMAX and other PLF screens, and positive reception among moviegoers, a strong hold is expected for its sophomore weekend.

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Opening Weekend Range: $30 – 50 million

The Lion King
Second Weekend Range: $85 – 95 million

Top 10 vs. Last Year

Boxoffice projects this weekend’s top ten films will increase approximately 13 – 18 percent from the same frame last year when Mission: Impossible – Fallout and Teen Titans Go! to the Movies debuted as part of an overall $143.3 million top ten cume.

Weekend Forecast

Film Distributor 3-Day Weekend Forecast Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, July 28 % Change from Last Wknd
The Lion King (2019) Disney $90,000,000 $365,400,000 -53%
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood Sony / Columbia $40,000,000 $40,000,000 NEW
Spider-Man: Far From Home Sony / Columbia $14,000,000 $346,900,000 -34%
Toy Story 4 Disney / Pixar $11,000,000 $397,200,000 -29%
Crawl Paramount $3,700,000 $31,100,000 -39%

Alex Edghill contributed to this report

Forecasts subject to change as location counts are finalized before Friday.

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