Quentin Tarantino’s latest film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood now ranks as the biggest opening movie in his 27-year directing career. Set in 1960s Hollywood, the film follows fading star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) as they struggle to stay relevant in a changing industry, crossing paths with Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) and the Manson Family along the way.
Prior to its North American theatrical release this weekend, distributor Sony Pictures Releasing predicted Once Upon a Time in Hollywood would make approximately $30 million during its opening weekend. Box Office Pro was slightly more optimistic than Sony, estimating the movie would gross around $40 million domestically during its first three days of release.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood topped both those predictions, however, making $40.4 million this weekend as figures from Box Office Mojo show. Though it was the only new film released this weekend, the movie still fared well against the big box office hitters currently showing in theaters. Its $40.4 million wasn’t quite enough to topple The Lion King from its throne - which made $75.5 million this weekend and kept its number one spot at the box office - but Once Upon a Time in Hollywood did rank ahead of Spider-Man: Far From Home, Toy Story 4, and Crawl. That's not bad for an R-rated new release unconnected to a major franchise or brand.
The last Tarantino film to come close to such an impressive opening weekend was Inglourious Basterds, which made just over $38 million when it was released back in 2009. That was followed closely behind by Django Unchained, which grossed $30.1 million during its opening weekend in 2012.
The success of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood could be explained by a few factors. Firstly - according to Box Office Mojo - it’s Tarantino’s most widely released movie to date, opening in a total of 3,659 North American theaters. Secondly, it’s Tarantino’s ninth film as director, and his name carries a quite a bit of recognition today. The movie’s A-list cast - which, alongside DiCaprio, Pitt and, Robbie also includes Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, and the late Luke Perry - no doubt helped bolster the film’s success, as did strong reviews.
Though it boasts his highest-grossing opening weekend ever, we’ll have to wait and see how Once Upon a Time in Hollywood fares over its whole box office run compared to Tarantino’s other movies. However, considering that Tarantino’s highest-grossing films to date - Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained - both made less during their opening weekends, there’s every chance Once Upon a Time in Hollywood could end up out-grossing them both.
Source: Box Office Mojo