'Hobbs and Shaw' is underperforming in China despite the massive popularity of The Rock and 'Fast and Furious'

Universal‘Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw’
  • “Hobbs and Shaw” has made $US186 million China and will likely top out soon, falling short of recent “Fast and Furious” movies that have earned over $US390 million there.
  • The underperformance is unusual given the popularity of the franchise and star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the region.
  • But the movie has still made over $US700 million without most of the main “Fast and Furious” cast members.
  • “Spinning off a major franchise, especially one with an ensemble cast like ‘Fast and Furious,’ is always tricky,” Boxoffice Pro editorial director Daniel Loria told Business Insider.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

“Hobbs and Shaw” is running out of gas in China.

After a strong start in the region, the “Fast and Furious” spin-off has earned $US186 million there, according to Variety, and will likely top out soon. It added $US10 million over the slow weekend, and it’s expected to make just $US7 million more over its theatrical run, according to Chinese ticket service Maoyan (via Variety).

While that’s more than the $US164 million the movie has earned domestically, it still falls short of recent “Fast and Furious” movies. “Furious 7” and the eighth instalment, “The Fate of the Furious,” both made over $US390 million in China and over $US1 billion worldwide. “Hobbs and Shaw” has made $US720 million off of a $US200 million production budget.

The underperformance is unusual given the popularity of both the “Fast and Furious” franchise and star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in China. Johnson has turned potential duds, such as last year’s “Rampage” and “Skyscraper,” into global success stories thanks to his ability to attract audiences in China. “Rampage” made $US156 million in China, which propelled its global total to $US428 million despite a lacklustre run in the US.

But the slowdown isn’t just a “Hobbs and Shaw” issue. The Chinese box office was down 2.7% in the first half of 2019, according to Chinese industry site Mtime (via Screen Daily), potentially due to rising ticket prices and increased streaming competition (the domestic box office was down 6% and the worldwide box office was down 4.7% in the first half of the year, according to data from Comscore).

“Hobbs and Shaw” will likely finish its domestic run with the second-worst box office of the “Fast and Furious” franchise, after adjusting for inflation, only beating out “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.”

The good news is it’s faring better globally, and will likely finish with the fourth-best worldwide total of the franchise. The fact that it has fallen short of the most recent “Fast and Furious” movies doesn’t negate that it’s made over $US700 million without most of the cast members of the main series.

“Spinning off a major franchise, especially one with an ensemble cast like ‘Fast and Furious,’ is always tricky,” Boxoffice Pro editorial director Daniel Loria told Business Insider last month. “Few IPs have been able to do it successfully, so it’s a bit unfair to expect this spin-off to hit the billion-dollar heights of prior films in the series.”

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