It wasn’t a question of whether Furious 7 will open at the top of the domestic box-office or not, but rather how big would its opening really be. The jury is back, and the verdict is – mammoth! $143.6 million is the movie’s weekend earnings estimate from North America alone. That is mammoth. It is 47% higher than the the $97.4 million opening of the previous movie Fast & Furious 6. That is mammoth. It is the ninth biggest domestic opening ever. That is mammoth. This is by far the biggest opening seen in April, surpassing last year’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($95 million). That is mammoth, indeed! Furious 7 deserves the plaudits which it is receiving. It scaled up the stunts and the action; it got in more stars like Jason Statham and Kurt Russell to freshen things up a bit; it paid a tearful and fitting homage to the late Paul Walker. Even the critics have raved about it, seeing eye-to-eye with the audience on this one; it has a strong 87% score on Rottentomatoes.
The weekend story does not end here. Furious 7 opened in many international markets too and took in $240 million from these countries. That brings the global earnings figure to $384 million in the first weekend itself! The movie is yet to open in big markets like China and Japan, and on top of that, it faces very limited competition in the coming weeks until the arrival of Avengers: Age of Ultron which opens in the first week of May in the USA and in last week of April in many foreign places. It is a realistic bet that Furious 7 could be heading for a $1 billion plus run in the theatres, which would be the first for a film of this franchise, eclipsing the $789 million tally of Fast & Furious 6. The movie’s production budget was initially meant to be around $200 million, but subsequent additional work due to Paul Walker’s demise is said to have escalated the budget to $250 million, which is huge by even today’s rich standards. But with this opening, the studio Universal Pictures has nothing to worry about as it is poised to make a hefty sum indeed!
Furious 7 was the only wide release of the weekend in North America. The movie Home fell by 47% on its second weekend, which is slightly high for an animated movie. It is doing reasonably well nonetheless with $179 million earned worldwide so far. Get Hard fell hard by 62% on the second weekend, but it should recover its budget before the end of its theatrical run. In the other running movies, Cinderella (a big hit already) is quite close to $400 million worldwide, and Insurgent has earned more than $100 million in domestic and foreign markets both to make for a global total of $224 million as of now – can it add $100 million more from the global markets, is the big question to look out for.
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office (estimates):
1. Furious 7 ($143.6 million)
2. Home ($27.4 million; second weekend)
3. Get Hard ($12.9 million; second weekend)
4. Cinderella ($10.3 million; fourth weekend)
5. Insurgent ($10.0 million; third weekend)