Spider-Man and CGI lions may be at the top of the box office right now, but director Quentin Tarantino is about to enter the ring in a major way with his newest movie, ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD. His latest, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie, is expected to do great business by providing an original alternative among the summer blockbusters, and so far, things are starting off on the grooviest of feet after the movie made $5.8 million from Thursday preview showings.
Considering HOLLYWOOD is a 161-minute comedy-drama set in Hollywood during 1969, the Thursday frame is an exceptional start to what should be a great opening weekend. Current estimates for the weekend place the movie’s total for anywhere between $30-$40 million, which would give it a firm place in second in what’s expected to be another major win for LION KING this weekend.
Worth noting though is that while movies like HOLLYWOOD don’t often break out during the summer season, Christopher Nolan’s DUNKIRK had a $5.5 million Thursday night back in July 2017, all before coming in above expectations with $50 million for the weekend. As well, HOLLYWOOD’s Thursday frame isn’t that far off from the preview frame for Jordan Peele’s US back in March, which made $7.4 million before opening to a tremendous $70 million. Like Tarantino’s new movie these are both non-sequel, non-franchise movies that opened to massive numbers, propelled by audiences looking for something different from reliable filmmakers. Should audiences flock to the theaters this weekend looking for the same thing, HOLLYWOOD has a shot at besting INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS’ $38 million weekend for Tarantino’s best opening ever.
Of course, it does have some pretty major competition ahead of it. LION KING is expected to win the weekend easily, and coming after a $190 million opening weekend the movie is expected to rake in another $80-$90 million for a repeat first place. Tarantino has never opened a movie so smack-dab in the middle of summer before (BASTERDS opened August 2009), so how his movie will fare among so much competition remains to be seen. That being said, DJANGO UNCHAINED became his highest-grossing movie during Christmas 2012, sticking out among competition like THE HOBBIT and LES MISERABLES.