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Box Office: ‘Furious 7’ Cruising to Another Big Weekend

Furious 7” will outrace “The Longest Ride” at the box office this weekend, but it’s hard to predict how big a lead the adrenaline-fueled sequel will maintain over the romantic drama.

That’s because “Furious 7” is breathing some pretty rarefied air right now, having recorded the ninth-largest domestic opening of all time with its stunning $147.2 million bow. Analysts say it’s safe to predict a big drop in its sophomore weekend, but determining how precipitous a decline it will suffer is the challenge.

Because the opening results were so outsized, look for “Furious 7” to dip by more than 50%, ending its follow-up weekend with between $65 million and $70 million. That will push its Stateside total over the $200 million mark as “Furious 7” looks to become the first film in the series to top $1 billion globally.

The film could end up holding better than expected, however. Paul Walker’s death in a 2013 car crash at the age of 40 makes this one of his final film roles, giving “Furious 7” an added poignancy for fans. That could help keep interest high and potentially lead to repeat business.

“I don’t think this is a typical blockbuster because of its emotional ending,” said Phil Contrino, VP and chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “I think it could end up holding up well because everything about this movie is performing better than expected … it’s a huge wildcard because there aren’t a lot of movies you can compare it to.”

The Longest Ride” should cross the finish line substantially behind “Furious 7,” but it could still turn out to be a shrewd piece of counterprogramming for Fox, the studio behind the adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks weepie. With men gravitating toward “Furious 7,” “The Longest Ride” will try to monopolize women and date-night crowds. It should strain tear ducts to the tune of $14 million and will jockey with DreamWorks Animation’s “Home” for a second-place finish. The animated film should end the weekend with around $15 million.

“The Longest Ride” will venture out across 3,365 locations. It’s an economical bet for Fox, costing $34 million to produce. The film stars Scott Eastwood and Britt Robertson and centers on a former bull riding champ who falls in love with a college student who is Big Apple bound. Sparks is the big attraction here, after shattering hearts and generating big box office business with tragic love stories such as “The Notebook” and “Dear John.”

The top five will be rounded out by “Cinderella” and “Get Hard,” both of which should pull in $7 million or $8 million.

In limited release, Relativity will roll out “Desert Dancer,” a drama about a group of young people starting an underground dance company in Iran, in 24 theaters. The weekend also brings “Lost River,” Ryan Gosling’s critically excoriated directorial debut. Reviews for the coming-of-age story were brutal when it premiered at Cannes last year, leading Warner Bros. to release the picture in a handful of theaters and simultaneously on-demand.

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