Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie and released by Columbia Pictures, made $5.8 million at the box office in Thursday night previews starting at 4 p.m. from 3,318 locations.
Sony is projecting the film in the $30 million range this weekend against a $90 million budget, with independent trackers pegging the Hollywood period piece to open between $35-45 million. If it hits the $40 million mark, it will open in the range of Tarantino’s 2009 film “Inglourious Basterds,” which also was also a summer release and opened to $38 million before eventually earning $120.5 million domestically.
However, “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood” will have to contend with the box office domination of Disney’s remake of “The Lion King” headed into its second weekend, as well as the “Fast & Furious” spinoff “Hobbs & Shaw” at the beginning of August if it hopes to leg out beyond this weekend.
One possible comparison is “Baby Driver,” which was also an original summer release from Sony back in 2017 that made $2.1 million in previews before grossing $20.5 million in its opening weekend. Tarantino’s last film “The Hateful Eight” opened in Dec. 2015 against “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” It made $4.6 million its limited release and then $15.7 million in its opening weekend upon going wide. Tarantino’s film “Django Unchained” also opened to $30.1 million during Christmas 2012.
“Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood” stars DiCaprio as a fading TV cowboy trying to re-establish himself in an evolving culture in 1969, all while living next door to actress Sharon Tate, as played by Robbie. Pitt stars as DiCaprio’s stunt double and driver, who manages to cross paths with Charles Manson’s cult family. Tarantino has assembled a supporting cast that includes Emile Hirsch, Timothy Olyphant, Dakota Fanning, Kurt Russell, Margaret Qualley, Bruce Dern, Austin Butler and Al Pacino. The film currently has a 89% score on Rotten Tomatoes.