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Universal’s Hobbs & Shaw is easily winning the weekend box office race after speeding to $23.7 million on Friday for a projected domestic debut of $60 million, more than enough to top holdovers The Lion King and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
The Fast & Furious spinoff — starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham — is doing far bigger big business overseas, where the high-octane series is one of the most popular action franchises in modern times. The spinoff is launching this weekend in most of the world, followed later this month by South Korea and China. The pic is looking at a weekend foreign haul of $120 million for a global opening of $180 million through Sunday.
Heading into the weekend, tracking services suggested a North American debut of $60 million to $65 million, while more bullish box office analysts predicted $70 million or more.
Nevertheless, $60 million would mark the best bow of Johnson’s career outside of the main Fast & Furious movies, not adjusted for inflation (ditto for Statham). And it’s the biggest domestic opening of the summer outside of Disney movies and superhero pics, topping John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum ($56.8 million).
Directed by David Leitch (Deadpool 2), Hobbs & Shaw nabbed an A- CinemaScore and strong exit scores on PostTrak. The Universal movie has no shortage of star power; the cast also includes Idris Elba, Helen Mirren and Vanessa Kirby — along with two high-profile surprise cameos (Ryan Reynolds and Kevin Hart).
More than 60 percent of Friday’s audience was 34 or younger. Other stats: Caucasians made up 38 percent of ticket buyers, followed by Hispanics (25 percent), African-Americans (22 percent) and Asians/Other (15 percent).
Disney and director Jon Favreau’s The Lion King, which led the chart the past three weekends, grossed $11.1 million Friday as it roared past the $400 million mark domestically. The family pic is tipped to earn $38 million for the weekend.
Sony and Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is holding well in its sophomore outing. The adult-skewing tentpole, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, earned an estimated $5.6 million on Friday for a projected weekend haul of nearly $20 million, a 52 percent drop.
Sony’s Spider-Man: Far From Home and Disney’s Toy Story 4 — which raced past the $400 million mark earlier this week in North America — will round out the top five, followed by Universal’s Yesterday.
Specialty darling The Farewell is moving up the chart to No. 7 in its fourth weekend as it begins to expand nationwide. Directed by Lulu Wang and starring Awkwafina, the A24 dramedy is expected to gross more than $2 million for the weekend. The Farewell is graced with a rare 100 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.
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