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Does Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon A Time Stand A Chance Against The Lion King At The Box Office?

The Lion King and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

The good news is that Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is giving Quentin Tarantino his best opening box office ever. The bad news is that it's probably not even going to be half of what The Lion King makes in its second weekend. But it's all relative, so good for QT.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood made $16.85 million on Friday and it's angling for a domestic opening weekend around $41 million. Inglourious Basterds, which also co-starred Brad Pitt, opened to $38 million in 2009. Django Unchained, which also co-starred Leonardo DiCaprio, opened to $30.1 million in 2012. That movie went on to make $425 million worldwide and remains QT's best worldwide performer, not adjusting for inflation.

Back in 1992, Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs had a quiet opening of $147,839 from 19 theaters. In 1994, Pulp Fiction opened to $9,311,882. In 1997, Jackie Brown opened to $9,292,248. Kill Bill Vol. 1 opened to $22,089,322 in 2003, followed by Kill Bill Vol. 2 earning $25,104,949 in its opening in 2004. The Hateful Eight opened wide at the tail end of 2015 and earned $15,706,645.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is now playing across 3,659 domestic theaters. That's more than a thousand fewer screens than The Lion King, which is playing in 4,725 theaters and is expected to make roughly $94 million in its second weekend.

Everyone else is expected to fall way behind, per Box Office Mojo. Spider-Man: Far From Home -- now a member of the Billion club -- is expected to earn around $12.7 million on the July 26-28, 2019 box office chart, followed by Toy Story 4 with around $10.3 million. Then it's expected to be another non-franchise movie with Yesterday taking only around $3.5 million, followed by Crawl with just over $3 million, and new Billion club member Aladdin with just under $3 million.

The Lion King is definitely expected to join that Billion club, which is already packed with Disney/Marvel/Lucasfilm properties. Will it join the 2 Billion club?

The Lion King was already passing box office milestones before it opened here in the U.S. last Friday. It went on to have a $190 million domestic opening. The 2019 remake got no help from critics, with a 53% RT rating; fans seem to love it, though, with an 89% audience score and an "A" CinemaScore.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood currently has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 86% with an audience score of 79% and a CinemaScore grade of "B" from polled moviegoers. Not hugely impressive scores, but the star power of director Quentin Tarantino and stars Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate has clearly been driving fans to theaters. Word of mouth may also help Once Upon a Time in Hollywood leg out across the rest of summer. We'll see.

Are you seeing either Once or Lion King this weekend? If not, are you heading out to see anything at all ... or nah?

Gina Carbone
Gina Carbone

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.