Tensions may be rising between the US and China, but the universal language of fast cars and huge explosions proved itself stronger than the trade war and backlash against tensions in Hong Kong. Universal’s Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw made an outstanding $102 million in its PRC opening despite a series low score of 6.8 on the Chinese audience gauging service Douban. Hobbs & Shaw were up against local super hit Ne Zha, the country’s best-selling animated movie of all time and third biggest overall, taking it off the top spot for the first time since its launch last month.
Back in the US it made $8.9 million and finished in fifth place. At $588.9 million worldwide Hobbs & Show now stands at the fifth highest-grossing out of nine Fast & Furious movies. The Chinese tracker Maoyan projects a $200 million run in the Middle Kingdom, which will be enough to move past Fast Five‘s $625.1 million worldwide earnings and leave it as the fourth biggest film in the franchise. Fast & Furious 6‘s third-place run of $788.7 million will, however, remain out of reach.
While Jason Statham and the Rock were busy taking over China, the Gerard Butler-led Angel Has Fallen touched down in the US and took first place with $21.2 million. Lionsgate’s third entry in the Fallen series has Butler’s Secret Service agent fighting once again to save the president of the United States (Morgan Freeman) from a brazen terrorist plot. This time however Butler is framed for an attempt on his charge’s life and will have to prevent a full-scale coup d’état, all while being hunted by every law enforcement agency in the country.
Angel‘s reported $40 million budget is the lowest yet in the series, as is it’s opening gross, but not by much. 2013’s Olympus Has Fallenholds the franchise’s record opening at $30.3 million, although it cost more in the range of $70 million to produce. Second place London Has Fallen, which cost 50% more than Angel to make, started just $200k ahead of this weekend’s domestic box office champ when it opened in 2016. Lionsgate seems to be perfecting the art of the mid-budget action thriller. They’re still missing a tent-pole series like The Hunger Games that underpinned their business in the early part of the decade but modest and consistent wins with Fallen, The Expendables, and John Wick appear to be a good substitute for now.
Sony meanwhile scored a nice little Christian payday in the midst of all this adrenaline dominating the markets on both sides of the Pacific. Overcomer, their latest release through dependably profitable faith-based division Affirm Films, made $8.2 million against a budget of $5 million and opened in third place. Overcomer is a feel-good story about a high school football coach and God helping an asthmatic small-town cross-country runner win the state championship. Alex Kendrick, the pastor turned hit-maker at the helm here, might be the only man in town that can stand toe-to-toe with profit margin king Jason Blum. With films like War Room, Courageous, and Fireproof, which make tens of times their budgets at the box office, he‘s easily one of the most profitable directors in Hollywood.
Horror entry Ready or Not from Fox Searchlight made $7.5 million in its debut and took sixth place, and The Lion King became the ninth best-selling picture of all time.
Next weekend Ne Zha opens in the US along with rom-com Before You Know It, as studios hold back in fear of It Chapter Two‘s release on September 6.