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“Once Upon a Time…” Overperforms, “The Lion King” Nears Billion Dollar Mark in Second Weekend

After seven consecutive weeks with different number-one films, the top of the box office has been a roadblock of Disney associated features with Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” and Sony and Marvel’s “Spider-Man: Far from Home” each earning two weeks at the top. Coming into this weekend Disney looked for another two-week frontrunner after the tremendous, if undeserved, success of the live-action “The Lion King” remake last weekend. But there was a solid challenger seeking to break up the party as another Sony feature, Quentin Tarantino’s ninth movie “Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood”, debuted as a source of alternate entertainment for those looking for much less family-friendly flair. Was “The Lion King” able to keep the two-week streak going or did Tarantino’s latest flick steal the box office crown? Let’s find out in the final Box Office Breakdown of July 2019.

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As predicted, Disney does it again with “The Lion King” ruling for a second week. It’s the first time since the 2017-into-2018 Christmas and New Years holidays that three films in a row each earned multiple weeks at the top of the chart. Back then “Coco”, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” each spent back to back three-plus week reigns as box office champions. But the last time we saw three movies in a row each spend only two weeks at the top back to back to back was way back in 2002 when “Scorpion King”,  “Spider-Man” and “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones” each spent two weeks at the top of the chart. That streak of two-week runs continued with a fourth film, “Sum of All Fears”. “The Lion King’s” triumphant second weekend saw it earn another $75.5 million, a much smaller sophomore take than industry experts expected and the largest second-week drop (over 60%) of all of the Disney live-action remakes to date. Internationally it earned another $142.8 million bringing its global tally to $962.7 million. It’s expected to break the worldwide $1 billion mark by this time next week joining “Spider-Man: Far from Home” and “Aladdin” which broke into the billion-dollar club over the weekend. More on them later.

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Looking at the big new release of the weekend, Tarantino’s latest masterpiece “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood” didn’t earn the box office crown but it did overperformed expectations. With great reviews the Sony released picture took in over $40 million domestically, the largest opening weekend of Tarantino’s career. It will be interesting to see how well the film holds over considering the lack of comparable competition. As a potential early Oscar favorite, it might be wise to expect the unexpected from this film’s run. You can read my review of “Once Upon a Time…” here. In third was last week’s runner-up “Spider-Man: Far from Home” which broke into the global $1 billion club over the weekend. Earning $12.2 million domestically and $21 million international the latest Marvel flick became the third movie of the year and first “Spider-Man” film to reach over a billion dollars worldwide. Rounding out the top five were “Toy Story 4” in fourth and “Crawl” in fifth.

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Looking at the rest of the top ten, “Yesterday” finally fell out of the top five after five weeks, landing in sixth. Another Disney live-action remake, “Aladdin”, continued to hold strong in seventh and also topped $1 billion globally after ten weeks. “Aladdin” became the fourth film to reach that milestone. That puts 2019 in an interesting position to top last year’s collection of five films that earned billion-dollar status, although one of them, “Aquaman”, earned part of that total in early 2019. Disney’s Fox release “Stuber” continues to falter falling to eighth while “Annabelle Comes Home” and A24’s expanded release of “The Farewell” rounded out the top five. “The Farewell” earned its spot after being released in only 135 locations to date in its limited release run.

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Next week will certainly be a challenge for “The Lion King” considering its dramatic drop from its first week. Universal will be releasing the latest entry in the “Fast & Furious” franchise with an action spinoff facing little genre competition. “Hobbs & Shaw” will feature the characters played by Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham on their own mission to save the world from an enhanced terrorist and could very easily take the crown as it will see a release in over 4,200 theaters. It should be interesting to see how well this spinoff will do. Will audiences embrace it as they have the rest of the franchise or will it simply be ignored as a failed cash-grab? We will see the result this time next week.

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