The early box office projections are in for Hobbs & Shaw and it looks like this could be a profitable way to further the Fast and Furious franchise. The spin-off centers on Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's Luke Hobbs and Jason Statham's Deckard Shaw. This is the first time a spin-off of any kind is being released outside of the main franchise, which makes this something of a gamble for Universal Pictures. But it looks like that gamble is going to pay off. Just perhaps not as big as it would for one of the main entries.

According to a new report, Hobbs & Shaw is tracking for a lower $60 million opening weekend domestically when it arrives in theaters next month. Yes, that is a whole lot lower than the record-breaking box office opening weekends of both Furious 7 ($147 million) and The Fate of the Furious ($98 million). But a spin-off like this was never expected to reach numbers such as those, and it's also extremely important to keep in mind that the $60 million figure is just its domestic number. And this franchise is very much about global appeal.

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Case in point, The Fate of the Furious had a $541.9 million global opening when it was released in 2017. That was boosted by an absolutely massive $185 million weekend in China. Hobbs & Shaw, similarly, will be rolling out in 64 markets internationally right out of the gate. Dwayne Johnson is a global superstar and this franchise, in particular, has been on the rise ever since Hobbs first showed up in Fast Five. There is no reason to think audiences around the globe won't turn out in droves to see this thing. Not only that, with it's late summer August release date and most of the big blockbusters out of the way, the action adventure is expected to have some serious stamina at the box office, as its long legs reach towards the end of summer.

It's also worth mentioning that the biggest opening of the year for a non-Disney/Marvel release is Jordan Peele's Us, which brought in $71 million back in March. It's easy to imagine a scenario in which Hobbs & Shaw manages to top that number. In which case, Universal would cement themselves as Disney's biggest competition, but it would still leave them in a distant second place.

The cast also includes the highly popular Idris Elba as the main villain, in addition to Mission: Impossible - Fallout star Vanessa Kirby and wrestling star Roman Reigns. David Leitch, who previously directed hits such as Atomic Blonde and Deadpool, in addition to co-directing the first John Wick, is at the helm. The main thing working against Hobbs & Shaw is its allegedly massive $200 million budget.

To date, the Fast and Furious franchise has grossed a stunning $5.1 billion worldwide. Considering the series was on life support following the release of the third entry, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, that's nothing shy of impressive. But in order to keep the cash flowing, Universal needs to find ways to expand the series. In addition to this, they also are reportedly working on a female-led spin-off. Hobbs & Shaw is set to arrive in theaters on August 2. This news was previously reported by Deadline.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb
Ryan Scott