The first Fast & Furious spinoff Hobbs & Shaw will gas up overseas tomorrow, and start U.S./Canada previews on Thursday at 7PM, but the Dwayne Johnson-Jason Statham vehicle isn’t expected to start off at the top speeds like the last pic in the franchise, Fate of the Furious, which floored it around the world to $541.9M (including China), but cruise along like a spin-off to about $195M WW, possibly more.
Domestic tracking sees Hobbs & Shaw at 4,200 theaters in the $60M-$65M range, while rival distribs believe this action pic could rev to $70M-plus. South East Asian markets are a go tomorrow for the David Leitch-directed feature, with major territories like UK, Brazil, Germany, Japan and Russia debuting through Friday along with the rest of the world save China, France, Italy and Korea which come later. The industry is seeing an initial weekend in the $125M range with upside depending on who shows up. Latin American and Asian audiences need to turn out if Hobbs & Shaw is going to fly past these projections.
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Given how Fate of the Furious and Furious 7 (the latter a catharsis for the franchise’s fans following Paul Walker’s death) reached such B.O. heights, there’s a temptation here to compare Hobbs & Shaw to other spinoffs, but there just aren’t great examples of films (excluding, say, superhero universes) that employ at least two of the key characters in a standalone story. For argument’s sake, F8 opened internationally to $171.5M in like-for-like markets and at today’s rates (recall this does not include China which was ultimately the biggest offshore hub on that film, followed by Brazil, the UK, Mexico and Japan). Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them keeps being brought up, but that’s a completely different audience. That pic’s global opening of $219.9M was off -54% from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2‘s $483.2M, and in this case Hobbs & Shaw looks to be -64% from the worldwide start of Fate of the Furious.
The good box office comparison here is last year’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout which opened to $61.2M domestic, $156.2M worldwide, the highest in that Paramount Tom Cruise series. The Mission: Impossible franchise is a better fit based on the recurring characters, late summer date and zany stunt action which Hobbs & Shaw definitely has. Fallout did $95M in like-for-likes (recalling certain key markets were not in the opening mix). Its biggest overseas homes for the full run were China, Korea and France — none of which are going on Hobbs & Shaw‘s first weekend.
If we look at superhero movies, perhaps Suicide Squad and Deadpool are worth notice, they opened to $122M and $132M in like for likes per our calculations.
Now, there is plenty of action in Hobbs & Shaw, and lots of banter between Johnson and Statham, both of whom do well overseas, and a new villain in Idris Elba. The film should do well in Asia, and ultimately is fortunate not to be going in China this weekend given local competition has finally ramped up. But it isn’t expected to reach F8 heights. Latin America may be tricky since Fast & Furious audiences are known to appreciate the diversity of the franchise’s cast.
There’s also a Lion lurking in the markets there, and this could stick a spoke in Hobbs & Shaw’s wheels. However, it’s one of the summer’s big action titles and provides an alternative to the family fare that has been overindexing in Latin America. The Lion King is expected to see a third weekend in U.S./Canada of $37M-$40M. As we reported earlier today, Lion King is Disney’s fourth title this year to pass the $1 billion mark. Through yesterday, the Jon Favreau-directed Disney reboot is up to $360.9M, and looks to cross $400M prior to Sunday. Sony’s Quentin Tarantino movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is eyeing a second weekend between $18M-$22M. Yesterday Hollywood made $4.63M, $300K shy of Inglorious Basterds‘ first Monday. Current cume to date is $45.6M.
In terms of getting the word out overseas, Statham and Elba were on a European tour last week with stops in Paris, London and Cologne. In the latter, the actors participated in a sold-out panel at CCXP Cologne. This is the first year that the Sao Paulo Comic-Con model expanded beyond Brazil to Germany. Hobbs & Shaw was the biggest film at the event that was used as a platform to launch the final trailer. Cars were showcased on the convention floor including the McLaren and the Rock Crawler as well as the Fight Ready experiential installation.
The global junket used a fun “dueling” gimmick the week of July 22 with half the cast in London and half in Hawaii to highlight the rivalry and differences between Hobbs and Shaw. On the “Shaw” junket were Statham, Elba, Kirby, Mirren, Lietch and Morgan. In Kauai for the “Hobbs” junket, Johnson was joined by Reigns, Curtis and Leitch. Johnson also did a Latin America/South East Asia press day in LA.
Together, Statham and Johnson will go to Beijing and Guangzhou with Leitch and Morgan during the week of August 5. H&S bows in the Middle Kingdom on August 23.