After ruling the box office for the last couple of weeks, Disney's The Lion King is no longer the number one movie in America with Hobbs & Shaw claiming pole position. The first Fast & Furious spin-off teams Dwayne Johnson's Luke Hobbs with Jason Statham's Deckard Shaw to take on Idris Elba's genetically enhanced super-soldier.
On paper, a $60.8 million opening is well below the standard for the franchise since shifting gears from street racing to insane action blockbuster. A decade ago, Fast & Furious (part four) brought back the original four main characters and managed a $70 million opening weekend. Two years later, Dwayne Johnson joined the cast for Fast Five and landed more than $86 million for its first weekend in cinemas. The sixth movie improved on that and scooped an opening of more than $97 million, the seventh still holds the record with $147 million with The Fate of the Furious clocking in at $98 million in 2017. Hobbs & Shaw is the first time since Toyko Drift that the long-running film series hasn't revolved and the main ensemble cast. Technically, as Vin Diesel popped up for a cameo in Toyko Drift (in exchange for the rights to Riddick), Hobbs & Shaw is the first significant deviation for the 18-year-old franchise.
The real money will be made at the international box office, and it's off to a solid start with more than $120 million generated over the four day weekend (it arrived in the UK on August 1st). The movie will get a boost later in the month when it arrives in China on August 23. The Middle Kingdom loves Johnson and Statham, last summer The Meg chomped down on $153 million with Johnson's Rampage taking $156 million from their respective releases in China. Universal will be hoping for more than that as the last two F&F sequels made more than $390 million apiece.
Meanwhile, Fast & Furious 9 is currently filming and recently confirmed that Jon Cena was joining the cast with Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren reprising their roles from the previous film. Mirren appears briefly in Hobbs & Shaw as the Shaw family matriarch, but she's once again denied the chance to get behind the wheel of a car, here's hoping F&F9 fixes that and makes Mirren's wish come true. Director Justin Lin returns to the fold to helm parts nine and ten that will (reportedly) close out the main franchise. Starring Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, John Cena, Helen Mirren, and Charlize Theron, Fast & Furious 9 will be released on May 22, 2020.