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Fate of the Furious wins the race with a record global debut

2017-04-17 10:30

Los Angeles — The eighth instalment in the Fast and the Furious is on the path to becoming the biggest worldwide debut of all time, besting both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Jurassic World.

Universal Pictures on Sunday estimated that The Fate of the Furious would earn a record $532.5m worldwide over the holiday weekend, thanks to a particularly robust showing in 63 territories, including China.

If the figures hold, it will just inch past the previous record holder, Star Wars: The Force Awakens which launched to $529m in December of 2015 without China.

The film broke the record for biggest international weekend ever, with $432.3m. The previous record holder was Jurassic World with $316.7m.

"There is no market that hasn't had a strong reception," said Duncan Clark, Universal's president of international distribution. "Whatever culture, whatever language, whatever country, we seem to have found a home."

Watch a trailer for Fate of the Furious here:

The China opening alone brought in a record $190m followed by $17.8m from Mexico and $17m from the U.K. and Ireland.

An estimated $100.2m of the global total comes from 4 310 North American theatres — a second best for the franchise and enough to easily top the domestic charts, but well below the $147.2m opening of Furious 7 in 2015.

Furious 7 had a groundswell of additional interest due to the death of actor Paul Walker, who played cop turned street racer Brian O'Conner, a lead character in six of the films. He died in a car crash while the film was still in production.

For the studio, Fast 8 stands on its own as being "an extraordinary result."

"Each one of these films has its own momentum," said Nick Carpou, Universal's president of domestic distribution. "There are factors from one film to the next that make them unique and certainly there were unique factors with Furious 7."

The Fate of the Furious has many of the returning stars like Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese and Ludacris, but has added some new elements behind the camera in director F. Gary Gray and in front of the camera with Charlize Theron.

The $100.2m is slightly below analyst expectations for the film. Audiences were 58 percent male, 50 percent under the age of 25 and diverse (41 percent were Caucasian, 26 percent Hispanic and 19 percent African American).

The studio has not released an official production budget, but it is reported to be in the pricey $250m range. However, an A Cinema Score from exit polls suggest that it will have sufficient staying power.

The Fast and the Furious is a global juggernaut for Universal Pictures, which plans two additional pictures. With the addition of Fast 8, the franchise has earned an estimated $4.4bn globally.

"It is a franchise that has adapted and changed over the years and is as relevant in 2017 as it was in 2001," noted Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for comScore. "The Furious franchise perfectly represents what that global audience is all about. They're poised perfectly for instalments 9 and 10 to do very well. It's still firing on all cylinders."

The rest of the chart

The rest of the chart looked sleepy in comparison to the fresh fuel of The Fate of the Furious. The Boss Baby took second with $15.5m, while Beauty and the Beast held on to third place with $13.6m.

Beauty and the Beast crossed the $1bn mark worldwide this weekend. Rounding out the top five were Smurfs: The Lost Village with $6.5m and Going in Style with $6.4m.

The summer movie season really kicks into high gear in a few weeks when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 goes into orbit on 5 May.

Watch the official trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 here:

Read more on:    box office  |  movies

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