(CNN) — Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood” exceeded expectations this weekend becoming the director’s highest-grossing opening weekend ever.
The film, which takes place in 1969 Hollywood and stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, made an estimated $40.4 million between Friday and Sunday. It took the No. 2 spot at the domestic box office this weekend.
Sony had projected the film would make roughly $30 million this weekend. Tarantino’s previous highest-grossing opening was “Inglourious Basterds,” which opened to $38 million in 2009.
The windfall for the film this weekend may not seem like much compared to some of the big numbers brought in from the likes of Disney this summer, but it’s a strong start for an R-rated original film that’s not connected to a brand or franchise. “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood” came with a budget of $90 million.
Tarantino’s name recognition, the film’s A-list cast and strong reviews likely helped the film this weekend. “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood” garnered an 86% review score on Rotten Tomatoes and a “B” CinemaScore from audiences.
“The Lion King” took the No. 1 spot for the second weekend in a row. Disney’s remake of the 1994 animated classic made an estimated $75.5 million domestically this weekend.
The film, which has an all star cast that includes Beyoncé, Donald Glover, John Oliver and Seth Rogen all lending their voice work to the film, has made $962 million globally so far.
The big weekends from “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood” and “The Lion King” was welcomed news for the domestic box office, which has been sluggish so far this summer. The 2019 North American box office was down about 8% heading into Friday. This weekend’s box office totals were up roughly 5% compared to the same weekend last year, according to Comscore.
The domestic box office’s momentum should continue into next weekend with another potential hit film in Universal’s “Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” hitting theaters this week.