Box Office: ‘Furious 7’ Destroys Records With $143.6 Million Debut

Most Anticipated Movies of 2015

Furious 7” raced to the top of the domestic box office, picking up a massive $143.6 million in its opening weekend.

That establishes a new high-water mark for the month of April, blowing past the $95 million debut of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” and standing as the highest-grossing kickoff for any film in the “Fast and Furious” franchise. It also ranks ninth among the top 10 openings in history.

Much as “The Dark Knight” turned into a memorial for Heath Ledger, audiences flocked to see star Paul Walker in one of his final roles. The actor died in a 2013 car crash at the age of 40, and his work on the film was completed using digital technology and a series of stand-ins.

“This is a bittersweet installment in the franchise,” said Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “[Walker’s] passing made this movie more intriguing for people who hadn’t seen some of the installments. It raised awareness and its success is a tribute to him.”

Universal Pictures spared no expense in bringing the latest chapter in the fast cars and gravity-defying-stunts series to the bigscreen, shelling out $190 million on the production. It unspooled in 4,003 North American theaters, earning $14 million on 365 Imax screens and $11.5 million from premium large format screens. Going into the weekend, most analysts estimated that the film would open in at about $115 million.

Foreign numbers were steroidal. Internationally, the film rolled out across 10,500 screens in 63 territories, earning $240.4 million.

“This is the next member of the billion-dollar club, and that’s a rarefied place to be,” said Contrino. “This thing is on fire.”

With an A CinemaScore and strong reviews, “Furious 7” could be one of the few modern blockbusters that hangs on for more than a few weeks. The month of April is lean on blockbuster fare, and “Furious 7” won’t get serious competition until “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” debuts on May 1.

The opening weekend crowd was impressively diverse, a testament to a series that has drawn strength from its multicultural cast. The audience was 51% male, 44% under age 25, 37% Hispanic, 25% Caucasian, 24% African-American and 10% Asian.

“We’re expanding our audience based on the diversity of interest from different ethnic groups all buying into saga of Dom Toretto and his family,” said Nick Carpou, Universal’s president of domestic distribution, referencing the character played by Vin Diesel.

Last weekend’s box office champion, DreamWorks Animation’s “Home,” showed impressive stamina, falling less than 50%. The animated tale picked up $27.4 million in its sophomore frame, pushing its domestic total to $95.6 million.

In third place, R-rated comedy “Get Hard” earned $12.9 million. The Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart team-up fell 62% from its opening number, bringing its Stateside haul to $57 million.

“Cinderella” snagged a fourth place finish, picking up $10.3 million Stateside to push its domestic bounty to $167.3 million. Globally, the Disney release is closing in on $400 million.

“The Divergent Series: Insurgent” rounded out the weekend top five, nabbing $10 million and driving the film to $103.4 million domestically.

Among arthouse releases, Noah Baumbach’s “While We’re Young” expanded from four to 34 theaters, picking up $492,976. The A24 release has earned $791,450 in two weeks.

Radius-TWC’s “It Follows” also continued to expand, moving from 1,218 to 1,655, though its gross dipped 35% to $2.5 million. The critically adored horror film has made $8.5 million since debuting on March 13.

The Weinstein Company was particularly bullish on the reception for “Woman in Gold,” a drama about the fight to recover art stolen by the Nazis. The film picked up $2 million from 258 locations and will expand to between 800 and 1,000 venues this coming weekend.

“The film is definitely poised for a long, long run,” said Erik Lomis, the studio’s distribution chief. “That’s a really solid start.”

Thanks to “Furious 7,” the overall box office reached $218 million, marking the first time that ticket sales have crossed $200 million over the Easter weekend.

“These huge results jump start momentum for the blockbuster summer season, suggesting that 2015 is shaping up to be everything (and maybe even more) that the industry has been hoping for,” said Greg Foster, CEO of Imax Entertainment.

In other words, “Furious 7” just dropped the mic.

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  1. Sam America says:

    HOLLYWERID GARBAGE CRAP! CAN’T BELIEVE SO MANY ARE SO STUPID EVEN AFTER 7
    TIMES THEY CONTINUE TO GO SEE THIS CRAP! SHOWS THE BRAINDEAD ARE ALIVE IN
    AMERICA AS OBAMA GETTING ELECTED TWICE SHOWS CLEARLY PEOPLE ARE DOPES!

  2. Phil Esteen says:

    I do not get the appeal of these loud, obnoxious, repetitive ‘FnF’ falderals, but then again I didn’t understand the appeal of “American Wiper” either.

    Lesson learned: Americans absolutely love breaking the speed limit and killing human beings from a cozy, secluded, safe spot.

  3. Justin Greed says:

    For months the party line on Walker has been: 1) archival footage, 2) his brothers as body doubles, and 3) “some” CGI. After watching the movie…. I really hope Weta Digital & Universal come clean about just how much CGI was used to re-animate Walker. CGI “stunt doubles” are common and are generally not required to emote, so, to be clear, CGI, in this case, would be any instance where Walkers face was composited, animated or otherwise grafted onto another actor’s body. This would include movements of the head, neck and possibly the shoulders. I’m a huge fan of Weta Digital’s work, particularly the Apes flicks (Rise & Dawn). While, the basis for the most of their animation performance’s are the actor’s motion capture data, Weta seems to have a stock library of facial animation and body movement curves that you see across most of their projects. One example is when a digital character is standing still and turns its head left or right while the shoulders and chest remain static. It’s a nitpick, but no matter how hard they try, some of these movements still look mechanical and unnatural.
    I saw TONS of that in the Walker scenes. It was semi creepy to see “Walker” making similar facial expressions to Caesar for a split second before Walkers “face” returned to its “rest” position which looked dead and lifeless. Kudos to Weta and the Studio for making the best out of a bad situation and doing it in tasteful manner…. God forbid if Universal would have gone to Industrial Light and Magic: / –
    BUT DISCLOSE!

  4. Furious 7 is just awsome. Every peny i spend to watch it was doubled.. thank u #Paul_Walker #Vin_Diesel #Jason_Statham #The_Rock for the awsome movie. :)

  5. sathish.m says:

    Am ready to act in the next part of the film. Because this film was touch my heart and i like car race

  6. Titanic is still the Top grossing film it made wen it came out $2.187 billion

  7. my fav movie…awesome…! action

  8. Macd says:

    The budget was $190-mil? No, more like $250-mil. Add another $100-mil for P&A. Estimated total: $350-mil. Sure, Universal will see a nice profit, but I’m far more impressed when a fine, non-franchise movie like “Fault in Our Stars” costs $12-mil and grosses over $300,000,000 globally.

  9. Contessa46 says:

    Fabulous–special effects are insanely great!

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