Fast & Furious spin-off struggles to gain speed in cinema debut

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HOBBS & SHAW, a spin-off from Universal Pictures’ successful Fast & Furious film series, got off to a slow start with North American fans, while still giving the studio one of its biggest openings of the year.

Officially titled Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, the film featuring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, brought in $60.8 million from US and Canadian theaters, researcher Comscore Inc. estimated Sunday. Analysts were forecasting around $65 million, while the studio was expecting about $60 million.

• Forecasts had been coming down, based on lower-than-projected ticket presales. Box Office Pro, for instance, previously expected $89 million. But even the reduced total represented the biggest opening of the summer for a movie not made by box-office leader Walt Disney Co.

• International markets play an outsize role for the Fast & Furious films — they accounted for almost 82% of the last movie’s global take. And with a production budget estimated at $200 million, the studio division of Comcast Corp. will be counting on strong foreign sales.

• Johnson and Statham, veterans of the series, are joined by new additions Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby and Eiza Gonzalez, 18 years after debut of the first film in the Fast & Furious series. The movies have generated more than $5 billion in global box-office sales.


• A strong summer led by Disney’s Avengers: Endgame, The Lion King, and Toy Story 4 has helped theaters come back from a slow start to the year. Cinemark Holdings Inc., a leading theater operator, said on Friday that second-quarter sales grew 7.7%.

• The only Universal weekend debut to top Hobbs & Shaw was Us with $71.1 million in March. — Bloomberg