- "Hobbs and Shaw" is projected to earn between $60 million and $70 million at the domestic box office this weekend, which would be one of the lowest openings in the "Fast and Furious" franchise.
- But the spin-off starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Jason Statham is expected to get a big boost internationally.
- The franchise (and Johnson himself) is a hit overseas, and the last two installments made over $1 billion worldwide.
- "‘Fast and Furious’ has been at the forefront of the multi-cultural, internationally flavored action-movie genre since its inception and this has paid massive long-term dividends in the global marketplace," the Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian told Business Insider.
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Action-movie superstars Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Jason Statham are headlining a "Fast and Furious" spin-off this weekend. But without Vin Diesel and the rest of the "Fast family," "Hobbs and Shaw" is looking at a low opening weekend at the US box office, at least by the franchise’s standards.
But that doesn’t mean it won’t be a hit.
"Often as action franchises age, they fare better in the international territories where the sheer scale, bombast and OMG factor that they bring to the table remain irresistible to fans," the Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian told Business Insider.
The studio Universal is estimating a $60 million domestic debut, while Boxoffice.com and Box Office Mojo are projecting $66 million and $65 million, respectively. Ticket service Fandango said on Wednesday that the movie was pacing similarly to last year’s "Mission: Impossible — Fallout," which opened with $61 million.
If those projections hold up, "Hobbs and Shaw" would have one of the lowest domestic openings of the "Fast and Furious" franchise, which includes eight previous movies. After being adjusted for inflation, only the first installment, "The Fast and the Furious," and the third, "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift," earned less than $65 million in their domestic opening weekends.
"Hobbs and Shaw" is projected to earn around $5 million in Thursday previews, according to Deadline, which would be a lot less than the last two installments in the franchise and another sign that it’s heading for a low opening by comparison. "Furious 7" earned $15 million on Thursday, and the eighth movie, "The Fate of the Furious," made $10 million.
The biggest domestic opening in the franchise, before inflation, belongs to "Furious 7" with $147 million, followed by "The Fate of the Furious" with $98 million.
While the predictions are conservative, the movie could have legs for the remainder of the summer movie season.
"Ultimately, where expectations had long been for this to behave like a ‘Fast & Furious’ sequel, it’s increasingly possible that a less front-loaded opening could be in store," Boxoffice.com senior analyst Shawn Robbins wrote. "With a lack of direct competition for the remainder of summer and a popcorn film that might turn out to be a crowd-pleaser, the runway for staying power certainly exists."
Robbins added, "All those elements are noted before even considering overseas play, which is expected to be strong given the franchise’s history and the international appeal of the film’s stars."
The ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise — and The Rock — are hits internationally
Aside from its potential staying power in the US, the box-office upside for "Hobbs and Shaw" is the "Fast and Furious" franchise’s popularity overseas.
The series has grossed a combined $5.14 billion worldwide, according to Comscore, thanks in large part to its international success. "Furious 7" and "Fate of the Furious" both made over $1 billion internationally (77% and 81% of their overall box office, respectively, according to data from Comscore). The former ultimately made $1.5 billion worldwide, and the latter made $1.2 billion.
"‘Fast and Furious’ has been at the forefront of the multi-cultural, internationally flavored action-movie genre since its inception and this has paid massive long-term dividends in the global marketplace," Dergarabedian said. "’Hobbs & Shaw’ should benefit similarly from that international vibe."
Johnson himself is an international sensation, particularly in China, which could also benefit the movie. Two of his movies last year, "Rampage" and "Skyscraper," failed to attract large crowds in the US but international audiences propelled them to success.
The video-game adaptation "Rampage" earned $101 million domestically, but $428 million worldwide (including $156 million in China) and was made for $120 million.
"Skyscraper," which takes place in Hong Kong, grossed just $68 million domestically. But it made $98 million in China and $304 million globally off of a $125 million production budget.
"The Fate of the Furious" earned a whopping $392 million in China, and with Johnson at the forefront of "Hobbs and Shaw," it stands to get a significant boost in the region (the movie opens August 23 in China).
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