Subscribe To The Lion King Box Office: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood Is Good Competition, But Still Number Two Updates
There was only one new movie out in wide release this past weekend, and it managed to do impressively well. In fact, Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon A Time In Hollywood had the biggest opening weekend of the writer/director's career. As expected, however, it had to settle for second place, as there was simply no way that it was going to take down Jon Favreau's The Lion King - which is once again the biggest film in North America following a predictable 60 percent drop.
You can check out the full Top 10 below, and join me after for analysis!
Like multiple other Disney releases we've seen so far in 2019, The Lion King put up some crazy numbers last time around, making $185 million domestically in its first three days and setting July opening weekend records. Now it's a week later and it's already knocking on the door of a billion dollars worldwide. The $75 million it made domestically in the last three days adds to a shocking $350.8 million total from North America alone, but adding in the $611.9 million from foreign territories brings its global total to $962.7 million. It will soon be the fifth Disney title this year to join the three comma club.
That's only one way of highlighting the dominating year that the studio is having so far, though. Thanks to the performances of The Lion King, Pixar's Toy Story 4, and Guy RItchie's Aladdin this week, the numbers now show that Disney has released the five top grossing films domestically so far in 2019 (the other two titles being Joe and Anthony Russo's Avengers: Endgame and Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck's Captain Marvel). It's worth noting that the rankings are liable to change in even just the next couple of days, as Jon Watts' Spider-Man: Far From Home - a Sony release - is just $1,473,317 behind Aladdin, and will surely out-gross it by the end of summer, but the landscape that currently exists is still illustrative enough to be noteworthy. And, of course, the latest Spider-Man movie is also a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a Disney brand, so the studio probably still sees it as a big picture victory regardless.
As much money as the new Lion King is making, though, it still may be challenged to make as much money in America as the original version did back in 1994. The remake is now just a little under $6 million away from surpassing its predecessor worldwide (so expect those headlines in the next few days), but that's because the foreign markets are contributing a much larger share of the box office. The Walt Disney Animation release made $422.8 million when it came out in the mid-1990s, and even without factoring in inflation that still leaves Jon Favreau's take a little over $72 million short. Will it be able to make that much cash before it's done theatrically? We'll have to wait and see.
There definitely is a favorable schedule ahead of it as we get deeper into the summer season - specifically into the doldrums of August. The only movie coming out next month geared towards younger audiences is James Bobin's Dora and The Lost City of Gold, but we'll have to wait and see if that has enough of a draw to distract from Disney's realistic animals.
As mentioned, the broad consensus among prognosticators before this weekend was that The Lion King would easily take the top spot again, but the performance by Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is still really impressive. Prior to this release it was Inglourious Basterds that stood as the biggest opener for Quentin Tarantino, which means that it took a full decade for that high water mark to be reached (which is surprising when you consider that 2012's Django Unchained is his highest grossing film ever with a total take of $162 million domestically and $425.4 million internationally). Both critics and audiences are digging it - as suggested by the 85 percent Rotten Tomatoes score and "B" grade on CinemaScore - and it should ultimately become the writer/director's fourth feature to make over $100 million in America.
Part of what makes this success so significant is the fact that it's a rare big win for original movies in 2019. It may not be number one, but the numbers it put up make it the second biggest opening weekend hit of the year for a release that is not a sequel or based on any pre-existing source material. The only title with the same qualifiers to do better in the seven months is Jordan Peele's Us - which was another film primarily sold on the popularity of the filmmaker at the helm. Of course, it didn't hurt Once Upon A Time In Hollywood to also have an ensemble featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie.
Looking at the other end of the chart, Lulu Wang's The Farewell is also doing a nice job shaking things up and selling tickets despite relatively only being in a handful of theaters. The indie movie starring Awkwafina, which earned a great deal of fanfare at the Sundance Film Festival back in Janaury, was released by A24 three weeks ago, but it expanded into 100 more theaters this weekend, and wound up on the Top 10 chart as a result. This obviously isn't going to be a film that winds up as even one of the Top 100 box office hits of the year, but it almost surely will be on quite a few Best Of 2019 lists, so it's cool that people are checking it out on the big screen.
Next weekend we once again only have one new movie arriving in wide release, but it's arguably the last big action blockbuster of the summer. David Leitch's Hobbs & Shaw is expected to make a humongous splash at the box office when it drops into theaters on Friday, so be sure to come back next Sunday to see its numbers and how it reshapes the Top 10.