‘Fast and Furious’ spinoff’s box office debut shows the franchise still resonates

By Victoria Cavaliere, CNN Business

(CNN) — The “Fast and Furious” franchise logged another hit at the box office this weekend, with its spinoff “Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” raking in $60.8 million in its North American debut.

The Universal film beat out Disney’s “The Lion King” and Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood,” which brought in $38.2 million and $20 million domestically from Thursday through Sunday, according to data from Comscore.”The Lion King,” in its third week, has now earned nearly $1.2 billion to date worldwide.

The “Fast and Furious” film, which stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Jason Statham, was a big test of whether the action franchise can succeed outside of its core storyline. A sequel is a direct continuation from the previous film, while a spinoff usually centers around a popular character that takes the franchise is a different direction.

The spinoff was also a risky move for Universal. Highly-anticipated spinoffs from popular franchises have sputtered at the box office. Examples include Harry Potter’s “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” Transformers’ “Bumblebee” and Star Wars’ “Solo.” While each movie made more than $300 million at the global box office, they represent the lowest-grossing films in their respective franchises.

“‘Hobbs & Shaw’ proves that the power of the “Fast & Furious” brand, over the course of the eight original films and after almost two decades of wowing audiences, its worldwide appeal has not diminished one bit,” said Paul​ Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.

The franchise also continues to be a big hit overseas. “Hobbs & Shaw” brought in $120 million internationally.

When “The Fast and the Furious,” the first film in the series, came out in 2001, 30% of its $207 million global gross was from foreign markets. Compare that to “The Fate of the Furious” in 2017: It made 81% of its $1.2 billion global gross internationally.

–CNN Business’s Frank Pallotta contributed to this report

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