Quentin Tarantino might have scored one of his biggest opening weekends ever with “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood,” but Disney still beat him with “The Lion King” in its second week at the box office. Luckily, Leonardo DiCaprio isn’t suffering from the same career stall that his character did.
“The Lion King” rode its circle of life into a second weekend atop the box office and “Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood,” while not quite doing fairytale numbers, gave director Quentin Tarantino his biggest opening ever.
“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” sold about $40.4 million in tickets at theaters in the United States and Canada from Thursday night to Sunday. That’s a win for both Sony, the film’s distributor, and Tarantino, its director; it rivals “Inglourious Basterds” in 2009 for his best opening weekend ever. (Adjusted for inflation, the $38.1 million total for “Inglourious Basterds” comes out slightly ahead.)
Having two of the biggest names in Hollywood lead the new movie probably helped. The story centers on the professional relationship and friendship between a made-up TV actor, Rick Dalton (DiCaprio), and his longtime stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). Its splintered story mixes fact and fiction, and attempts to capture the energy of an era that saw Hollywood and hippie culture collide. The movie also features portrayals of many real-life figures, most notably the actress Sharon Tate, who is played by Margot Robbie.
Disney’s photorealistic remake of the Hamlet-themed tale of Mufasa, Simba and Nala, featuring the voices of Donald Glover and Beyoncé, brought in $75 million in North America, according to studio estimates Sunday. Its domestic total of $350 million makes it the year’s fourth highest-grossing film after just 10 days of release.
“Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood” finished a distant second with $40 million in its opening weekend for Sony, but it bested the 2009 opening of Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” by $2 some million and made a strong showing for an R-rated, nearly-three-hour film that was not a sequel or remake and was aimed solely at adults.
The film with Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie as denizens of a 1969 Los Angeles where old Hollywood was fading and the Manson family was rising was more star-powered than Tarantino’s previous eight movies, though the director himself was as big a draw as anyone.
“In our fan survey, over 40% of the audience went to see the movie because of the director,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore. “That’s incredible. You almost never see that. Sony did a great job of putting that cast and certainly Tarantino at the front of the marketing. That collective star power just paid huge dividends.”
It’s also the sort of film that’s unlikely to experience a major drop-off in the coming weeks, and its long legs could walk it into awards season given Hollywood’s persistent love for movies about itself.
But with all of that, the film’s opening take was still nearly doubled by “The Lion King” and its broad appeal.
″‘Lion King’ has appealed to everyone, that’s a second-weekend gross that would be the envy of most films on their opening weekend,” Dergarabedian said.
The two-week take is also a sign that audiences are not yet feeling fatigue for Disney’s live-action remakes in a year that has already seen “Dumbo” and “Aladdin.”
“The idea that remake burnout would be in effect for ‘The Lion King’ has not proven true,” Dergarabedian said. “Some brands are inoculated from that kind of negative speculation.”
That’s even more good news for the ever-dominant Disney, with a live-action “Mulan” slated for early next year and more remakes in the planning stages.
The rest of the box office top 10 remained essentially unchanged from a week earlier. Sony’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home” was third with $12.2 million in its fourth weekend and has earned a cumulative $344 million, “Toy Story 4″ was fourth with $9.8 million, and “Crawl” fifth with $4 million.
“The Lion King” could reign for a third week. With major summer releases slowing as fall approaches the only real competition it has opening next weekend is “Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw.”
Also notable was A24’s “The Farewell,” a subtitled dramedy from the filmmaker Lulu Wang that expanded from 35 to 135 theaters and brought in about $1.6 million this weekend, according to Comscore, which compiles box-office data. While that was only enough for 10th place overall, “The Farewell” had a per-screen average of $11,510, the second best of the weekend behind “The Lion King.” It outpaced the $11,028 average for “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.”
North American Box Office
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. “The Lion King,” $75.5 million ($142.8 million international).
2. “Once Upon a Time … In Hollywood,” $40.3 million.
3. “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” $12.2 million ($21 million international).
4. “Toy Story 4,” $9.8 million ($19.4 million international).
5. “Crawl,” $4 million ($3.4 million international).
6. “Yesterday,” $3 million ($3.6 million international).
7. “Aladdin,” $2.8 million ($7.2 million international).
8. “Stuber,” $1.7 million ($1.6 million international).
9. “Annabelle Comes Home,” $1.56 million ($3.7 million international).
10. “The Farewell,” $1.55 million.
Worldwide Box Office
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to Comscore:
1. “The Lion King,” $142.8 million.
2. “Ne Zha” $83.1 million.
3. “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” $21 million.
4. “Toy Story 4,” $19.4 million.
5. “Looking Up,” $17.3 million.
6. “Aladdin,” $7.2 million.
7. “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” $7.2 million.
8. “Dancing Elephant,” $5.2 million.
9. “Annabelle Comes Home,” $3.7 million.
10. “White Storm 2: The Drug Lords,” $3.68 million.