Along with the massive blockbusters, remakes and long-awaited sequels, one of this summer’s most anticipated releases for film fans is Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The 9th film from the auteur brings together an all-star cast for a film the director describes as the closest thing he’s done to his beloved Pulp Fiction. The long-range tracking is in for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and all those ingredients look like they may add up to Tarantino’s biggest hit yet.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is forecasted to enjoy an opening weekend between $40 million and $60 million, according to Box Office Pro. For a movie released in the middle of summer that doesn’t have the same kind of CGI spectacle as the majority of the surrounding blockbusters, that is quite a solid debut. It may also wind up being the biggest opening to date for a Quentin Tarantino movie.
The biggest 3-day debut for Quentin Tarantino film, not counting for inflation, belongs to Inglorious Basterds, which opened to $38 million in August 2009 on its way to $321.4 million worldwide. Django Unchained also had a successful opening, earning $63.4 million over six days in advance of a $425.4 million worldwide total, but since it opened on Christmas Tuesday in 2012, it isn’t a 1 to 1 comparison.
Star power isn’t quite the box office driver that it once was, but Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has a lot of star power and that will certainly help this movie stand out in the crowded summer season and as Box Office Pro notes, be a ‘tentpole’ title in its own right. Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio starred in Quentin Tarantino’s biggest openers and their names along with Oscar nominee and Harley Quinn actress Margot Robbie, and a host of other talent, will certainly help this film’s visibility come release.
Almost two months out from its release, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood also has a lot of positive buzz going for it. The film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival to largely rave reviews (it currently sits at 94% on Rotten Tomatoes) and the release of the full trailer netted it solid social media buzz.
However, it should be noted that some of those reviews mentioned that the film could be divisive and prompt backlash, so we’ll have to see if that happens and what bearing it has on the box office.
It is also worth mentioning that although the R rating and long runtime (which Tarantino might still extend) are traditionally marks against a film’s box office prospects, Tarantino has a coterie audience that expects an R rating from the filmmaker and as Avengers: Endgame showed, when the interest is there, runtime isn’t always a detractor.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood will also stand out as one of the few options for adult-oriented fare during the summer months. The likening of the film to Pulp Fiction may also prove to be advantageous as that film is still Quentin Tarantino’s biggest movie domestically when adjusted for inflation.
And although the film won’t have much competition opening weekend, it will be interesting to see if its $40-$60 million debut is enough for first place. That’s because it comes out the week after Disney’s live-action remake of The Lion King, which could top $200 million opening weekend. Tarantino’s film also comes out one week before Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.
Nevertheless, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood will have carved out a nice opening for itself with $40-$60 million if the tracking is right.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood opens on July 26. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to keep track of all the movies to get you out of the hot summer sun this season.