×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Box Office: ‘Fate of the Furious’ Debuts to Hefty $100.2 Million

The Fate of the Furious” is roaring to a record-setting global debut over the weekend even as domestic audiences showed less enthusiasm for the latest installment in Universal’s long-running “Fast and Furious” series.

Final numbers have yet to be released, but based on earlier estimates, the action-thriller is poised to set a new worldwide high-water mark with $532.5 million. That would power the film over the previous record of $529 million set by “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 2015. If that happens, a large part of the credit will to China, where “The Fate of the Furious” racked up a massive $190 million in its first two days of release. It is worth noting that Chinese theaters only give studios about 25% of ticket sales, roughly half of what they receive in most major territories.

Domestically, there are indications that a franchise centered on muscle cars and physics-defying stunts, has crested. “The Fate of the Furious” took in an estimated $100.2 million, an impressive result, but a steep drop off from “Furious 7’s” $147.2 million kick-off. Heading into the weekend, most analysts expected the film would roar past the $100 million mark, instead of inch over the line.

Popular on Variety

“For a franchise that is eight films deep, this is a solid result,” said Jeff Bock, a box office analyst with Exhibitor Relations. “It’s clear though that the last one was the highest this franchise is ever going to go.”

There are important reasons for the fall-off. “Furious 7” served as a memorial of sorts to Paul Walker, the franchise star whose 2013 death in a car accident shattered his co-stars and many fans. This time, there wasn’t the same emotional resonance. “The Fate of the Furious” continues the franchise without Walker, adding in series newcomers such as Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren.

Then there was the off-screen drama. This film had to contend with reports of off-screen tension between Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson that undermined one of the franchise’s key selling points — that these films are celebrations of family and brotherhood. Both stars steered clear of each other at the picture’s New York premiere and Diesel’s attempt to brush aside the reports of a beef between the actors left something to be desired.

Reviews were also weaker. IndieWire’s David Ehrlich labeled the film the worst of the series, while the Los Angeles Times’ Justin Chang argued the franchise had jumped the shark, or in this case, the nuclear submarine. That’s not to say there weren’t some loud advocates. Variety‘sOwen Gleiberman, for instance, praised the picture as a “dazzling action spectacle.” Audiences agreed, handing “The Fate of the Furious” an A CinemaScore.

Beyond Johnson, Diesel, Mirren, and Theron, “The Fate of the Furious” brings back franchise veterans Kurt Russell, Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, Jason Statham, and Michelle Rodriguez. F. Gary Gray, fresh off the success of “Straight Outta Compton,” slid into the director’s chair. The film follows the crew as they grapple with Diesel’s betrayal and alliance with a mysterious hacker (Theron). The “Fast and Furious” series has been lauded for including a multi-ethnic cast of characters and for providing meaty roles for women at a time when Hollywood movies have been slammed for its lack of diversity. That has resulted in an audience that hails from a wide array of ethnic backgrounds, with Hispanics making up 26% of the audience, African-American’s comprising 19% of the crowd, and Asians accounting for 11% of ticket sales. Men were 58% of ticket buyers,.

“These films invite people in from all over the world,” said Nick Carpou, Universal’s domestic distribution chief. “There’s a holistic approach to this series that speaks to success through inclusion.”

Universal didn’t provide a budget, but sources peg the cost at $250 million, making it the most expensive chapter in the series. Despite the rising costs, the film remains on pace to top $1 billion worldwide, making future sequels a certainty.

Fox and DreamWorks Animation’s “The Boss Baby” was a distant second place, bringing in $15.5 million to push the family film’s domestic gross to $116.3 million. Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” nabbed third, taking in $13.6 million to push its stateside haul to a mighty $454.7 million. Globally, the fairy tale remake has soared past the $1 billion mark.

Sony’s “Smurfs: The Lost Village” came in fourth with $6.5 million, pushing the animated film’s North American total to an anemic $24.7 million. With a $60 million budget, the third Smurfs film will need to resonate strongly with foreign audiences if it wants to make a profit.

New Line’s “Going in Style” rounded out the top five, earning $6.3 million. The comedy about a trio of aging bank robbers stars Morgan Freeman, Alan Arkin, and Michael Caine. It has grossed $23.4 million, nearly matching its $24 million production budget.

Most studios steered clear of “The Fate of the Furious,” but there was one brave newcomers opening in limited release. Amazon Studios and Bleecker Street debuted “The Lost City of Z” in four theaters, where it picked up $112,633. The film follows an adventurer (Charlie Hunnam) as he plunges deep into the Amazon in search of glory.

More Film

  • Li Shaohong

    Li Shaohong Revisits Macao and Chinese War Films

    Fifth generation director Li Shaohong’s career has spanned the entire length of the Chinese film market’s rise, from its days as a state-run industry churning out nothing but social realist films to its current stage of supporting ever more sophisticated and lucrative blockbusters and genre films. The current head of the China Film Directors’ Guild, [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Johnny Ma on the Dynamics of New Era Film Production in China

    Shanghai-born Canadian filmmaker Johnny Ma says he’d planned to make three films in China before moving on to other things, but the current state of the Chinese industry has “forced his hand” and convinced him to move on early after two. Currently living in Mexico, his next project is actually in TV: a pilot for [...]

  • 'Wonder Woman 1984' Trailer: Gal Gadot

    'Wonder Woman 1984' Trailer: Gal Gadot Returns With Pedro Pascal, Kristen Wiig

    “Wonder Woman 1984” dropped its first trailer on Sunday, with Gal Gadot returning as the titular Amazonian goddess. The film is set, of course, in the 1980s in America, decades after the first film’s events. Kristen Wiig is playing Wonder Woman’s infamous comic-book nemesis Cheetah, while Chris Pine is returning for the sequel. It’s unclear, [...]

  • Over the Sea

    Macao Film Review: 'Over the Sea'

    The beginning is a fairy tale, or a nursery rhyme. A woman nurses her squalling baby in a house by an orchard near the sea. Sunlight slants in through the open windows, the mother hums a lullaby, and then brings her son outside and places him in a cot suspended from the apple-laden branches of [...]

  • CCA Film Nominations

    Critics' Choice: 'The Irishman,' 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Lead Movie Nominations

    “The Irishman” has picked up the most film nominations for the 35th annual Critics’ Choice Awards. The Martin Scorsese gangster drama goes into the awards show with 14 noms, including best picture, director, acting ensemble as well as best actor (Robert De Niro) and supporting actor (Al Pacino and Joe Pesci), the Critics’ Choice Association [...]

  • Parasite

    'Parasite' Named Best Film of 2019 by L.A. Film Critics Association

    Hollywood’s hometown critics clearly aren’t afraid of subtitles. Members of the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. met Sunday to vote on the year’s best cinema accomplishments. South Korean thriller “Parasite” fared the best, taking not only best picture, but also the group’s director prize for Bong Joon Ho and supporting actor for Song Kang Ho. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content