Comcast Corp. is hoping to rev up the summer box office, putting Universal Pictures' tried-and-true Fast & Furious franchise on the track.
"Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw"
Source: Universal Pictures
"Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw" is a character spinoff not in the direct lineage of Fast & Furious, so forecasters are predicting it will not collect as much as its namesake predecessors. The film is expected to go from zero to $60 million in its Aug. 2 opening weekend, according to Deadline Hollywood and Variety, though some forecasters are even more bullish. BoxOffice.com predicts a race to $70 million, down from prior forecasts that put "Hobbs & Shaw" bumper to bumper with 2017's "The Fate of the Furious," which opened to $98.8 million.
A $60 million to $70 million start would make "Hobbs & Shaw" one of the lower torque openers for the franchise, something to be expected for a spinoff, as Deadline points out.
Looking at recent installments in the series, an opening in the expected range would be in line with 2009's "Fast & Furious," which opened at $71.0 million. That title crossed the finish line with $174.6 million in net profit, according to Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence. However, "Fast & Furious" carried a production budget of just $86.9 million. Each franchise installment has grown in budget since then. "Hobbs & Shaw" ran Universal Pictures a neck-breaking $200 million in production, partly to pay leads Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham.
However, that is still under the $253.5 million budget for "The Fate of the Furious." That title drifted to $580.9 million in net profits, which may imply plenty of room for profitability for "Hobbs & Shaw."
"Hobbs & Shaw" may also get a boost from critics with strong reviews. It was running a 71% "fresh" rating on critical review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes as of 12:50 p.m. ET, Aug. 2.
Forecasters generally expect the debut title to unseat Walt Disney Co. from its throne at the top of box offices, where Disney has made a prideful run with its remake of "The Lion King." That title was enough to pull the summer box office back into shape, with Kagan reporting that after the second weekend of "The Lion King," the summer was almost neck and neck with the prior-year season, even if ticket sales were still down 6.5% for the full year-to-date. "The Lion King" was the fourth highest earning title of the year after its second weekend.
Also winding its way through theaters is "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," which generally beat forecasts to open the prior weekend with $41.1 million, a record start for director Quentin Tarantino.