Appropriately and predictably enough, Furious 7 came speeding out of the box office gate this weekend. From 4,004 locations the latest installment in Universal’s fourteen year-old franchise took in an estimated $143.6 million from 4,004 locations. That stands as the ninth highest weekend debut of all time and crushes the former April record of $97.3 million, set just last year by Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It also proved to be Universal’s biggest domestic opening of all time, replacing 2013’s Fast & Furious 6. Furious 7 wound up topping its predecessor by 48% – an impressive feat considering F&F6 was the top draw over 2013’s record-breaking Memorial Day holiday weekend.
For all its success, the triumph of Furious 7 did not come as a surprise. Though there was a time when the first week of April was pretty much the last place you’d find a blockbuster, that changed in 2009 when Fast and Furious, the fourth entry in the series, opened with a giant $70.9 million. That was more than the third F&F film, Tokyo Drift, earned in its entire domestic run and proved that summer was not the only advantageous time for tentpoles. Two years later, Fast Five pushed the franchise forward once again. Opening at the end of April, the film debuted with $86.2 million – 31% higher than Marvel’s Thor, which kicked off 2011’s official summer box office season one week later.
Even following Fast & Furious 6’s franchise-high, it was hard to believe that the series would continue to improve its box office numbers with its (nearly unprecedented) seventh installment. That perception shifted following the tragic death of star Paul Walker, in November 2013. The finished film, completed with the help of Walker’s brothers, was widely promoted as “one last ride” for the ‘family’ of street racers audiences first met in 2001. The outsized success of this weekend’s debut, which more than doubled Clash of the Titans’s previous Easter record of $61.2 million, makes it unlikely that Universal will hit the brakes on the franchise at this point. Worldwide, Furious 7 has already earned $384.7 million, with debuts in China and Japan yet to come.
Here’s a look at The Fast and Furious franchise over its first twelve years:
|The Fast and the Furious||2001||$40||$144.5||$207.3|
|2 Fast 2 Furious||2003||$50.4||$127.1||$236.4|
|The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift||2006||$23.9||$62.5||$158.5|
|Fast and Furious||2009||$70.9||$155||$363.2|
|Fast & Furious 6||2013||$97.3||$238.6||$788.7|
The only other new title in the top ten is Woman in Gold, from the Weinstein Company. The drama starring Helen Mirren has not received great reviews (49% on Rotten Tomatoes, compared to the 82% of Furious 7), and yet it’s estimated $2 million from 284 locations represents a solid start.
In holdover news, The Divergent Series: Insurgent passed the $100 million mark on Saturday, it’s sixteenth day in domestic release. At the same point in its run, Divergent had grossed over $111 million. Last weekend’s number one movie, Home, was down 47% in its sophomore frame and should hit $100 million in the next day or so. The news was not as rosy for the comedy Get Hard, which was off nearly 62% in its second frame. The real winner this weekend was the overall box office, which was up more than 30% over the same period in 2014, when Captain America: The Winter Soldier hit theatres.
Here’s how this weekend’s top ten played out:
|7.||Woman in Gold||$2,004,000||$2|
|8.||Kingsman: The Secret Service||$1,700,000||$122.2|
|9.||Do You Believe?||$1,500,000||$9.8|
|10.||Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel||$1,000,000||$30|