August 10, 2019

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Hobbs & Shaw” Beats Back “Scary Stories,” “Dora” & More


On a weekend prizing quantity of newcomers over box office quality, HOBBS & SHAW (Universal) will easily retain the crown, despite a 70% Friday-to-Friday drop to $7.1M, per preliminary numbers at Deadline.  The Fast & The Furious franchise tends to be frontloaded, and that 70% drop is actually better than the 76% for Fate Of the Furious and the 72% for Furious 7.  The rate of decline will moderate for a $25M weekend, putting the spin-off on a pace for a $150M US total.  That would be the lowest US result for a title in the franchise since 2009’s Fast and Furious, but Hobbs & Shaw was much more expensive than that one with around $300M in production/marketing costs, and its overall box office fate won’t be determined until its upcoming opening in China.

The closest thing to a win among the new openings was SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK (CBS/Lionsgate), which had an $8.5M Friday ($2.3M from Thursday night), for a $20M weekend.  That’s better than the recent $14.1M opening for Child’s Play, and if Stories can reach $40M in the US, it would have a chance at mild profit with some international success.

THE LION KING (Disney) dropped 51% from last Friday to $5.5M, similar to the 47% dip that Beauty & The Beast had on its 4th Friday, and Lion King should have a $19M weekend, on track for a $525M US total that would make it Disney’s highest-grossing reboot here.

DORA AND THE LOST CITY OF GOLD (Nickelodeon/Paramount) had an OK $6.2M start ($1.3M from Thursday), and strong family matinee business could bring the weekend to $18M.  Dora is the priciest of the weekend’s openings, with $100M+ in production/marketing costs, and it will need strong overseas results to get past breakeven.

ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD (Columbia/Sony) had a solid hold, down 44% on its 3rd Friday to $3.2M (better than the 48% drop for Inglourious Basterds on the parallel day), and it should have an $11M weekend.  Its US total is likely to match the $120.5M for Basterds, and the question will be whether it can also match that film’s $200.9M international result, even more of a necessity here, since Hollywood was more expensive, with $200M+ in total costs.

THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN (20th/Disney) started with a $3M skid on opening day.  For what it’s worth, that’s slightly better than the $2.5M start for A Dog’s Journey last May, but still suggests a weekend that won’t top $9M, and a US total of $25M won’t be much to wag its tail about.  Dog’s Journey, however, earned 67% of its worldwide total overseas, and a similar result could at least get Rain out of most of its red ink.

THE KITCHEN (BRON/DC/New Line/Warners) flopped with a $1.7M Friday and a weekend that may not see $5M.  There’s no scenario that gets this one out of a financial pit, and for stars Melissa McCarthy and Tiffany Haddish, it reinforces that their audiences will show up for them only in their home base of broad comedies.

SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME (Columbia/Sony) continued to hold very well, down 33% to $1.5M on its 6th Friday for a $5M weekend.  A $380M US total will put it below only the 2002 Spider-Man (unadjusted for inflation) among the franchise’s titles.

TOY STORY 4 (Pixar/Disney) slipped 33% to $1.4M on its 8th Friday, and a $5M weekend will keep it on track for $430M in the US, now the highest-grossing title in the Toy Story franchise domestically (still around $100M below Toy Story 3 worldwide).

THE FAREWELL (A24) expanded again, this time to 705 theatres, but it’s reaching the limit of its mainstream audience.  A $2M weekend would give it a $2800 weekend per-theatre average, around the same as The Art of Racing In The Rain, and considerably below the $5100 average Lady Bird had at 791, without the pep of awards season to keep it going.

BRIAN BANKS (Bleecker Street) opened at 1240 theatres, but even at that level is showing little audience interest with a $1.9M weekend on the way.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."