The Easter Bunny was very, very good to Universal’s Furious 7 this weekend as the highly-anticipated sequel revved its box office engines worldwide to massive numbers. The latest chapter in the increasingly popular Fast and the Furious franchise –the final to feature actor Paul Walker- helped drive the North American box office up 31% over last year at this time. Thanks to the arrival of Furious 7, the Easter weekend box office crossed the $200 million threshold for the first time.
Ever since hitting a series-low $63 million with 2006’s Tokyo Drift, the popularity of the Fast and the Furious series has skyrocketed. 2009’s Fast and Furious brought back cast members from the 2001 original, who in turn helped bring back the fans into the multiplexes. Fast and Furious earned $155 million domestically while 2011’s Fast Five earned $209 million and 2013’s Furious 6 took in $238 million.
That box office overdrive has carried over to Furious 7, which not only earned the best reviews of the series yet -82% approval on Rotten Tomatoes, an “A” rating on CinemaScore-, it also took in the most money during its first three days. Directed by James Wan (The Conjuring), Furious 7 opened on 4,004 North American screens this weekend where it pulled in an incredible $143.6 million. 365 of those screens were IMAX, which contributed $14 million to the total. An additional $11.5 million came from premium large format screens. If all of the above wasn’t enough to cause Universal Pictures to celebrate, Furious 7 snagged a massive $240 million from 10,500 screens in 63 overseas markets.
The domestic opening for Furious 7 was the biggest April opening ever, easily eclipsing the $95 million earned by The Winter Soldier one year ago. It was also the third best opening outside of the summer season, just behind the $158 million earned by The Hunger Games: Catching Fire in 2013 and the $152 million cleared by the original Hunger Games in 2012. While the ongoing popularity of the series certainly fueled the huge opening, a certain percentage undoubtedly came from viewers curious to see Paul Walker in his final film role. Despite the passing of Walker, who is given a proper -and quite moving- sendoff at the end of the film, there will be more adventures for Dominic Toretto and his "family", especially if this film can hit the billion dollar mark.
Last week’s number one film Home made the most of the holiday weekend. The DreamWorks/Fox animated feature slid 47% in its second weekend to earn $27.4 million from 3,801 theaters. Home has earned a solid $95.6 million domestically and $83.8 million overseas with plenty more to come.
The Will Ferrell/Kevin Hart feature Get Hard lost a sizeable amount of its young adult male audience to Furious 7 as the R-rated comedy dropped 62% in its second weekend on 3,212 screens. The Warner release took in $12.9 million over the Easter weekend to bring its overall total to $57 million. A final domestic total of $75-80 million is possible.
Staying put in fourth place for a second week was Disney’s blockbuster Cinderella with an estimated $10.2 million from 3,404 theaters. Off 40%, the live-action fantasy has earned $167 million domestically and an additional $230 million from overseas. Rounding out the top five was Lionsgate’s The Divergent Series: Insurgent with $10 million. Off 54% from last weekend, the film has earned $103.3 million domestically and an additional $120 million from foreign markets.
The remainder of the top ten was:
6. It Follows (Radius/TWC) $2.4 million (-35%); $8.5 million
7. Woman In Gold (Weinstein Company) (NEW); $2.1 million
8. Kingsman: The Secret Service (Fox) $1.7 million (-43%); $122.2 million
9. Do You Believe? (PFR) $1.5 million (-35%); $9.8 million
10. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Fox) $1 million (-53%); $30 million
Next weekend sees the arrival of one wide release, the romantic drama The Longest Ride. It’s a safe bet that Furious 7 will once again rule the multiplex despite experiencing a drop somewhere between 50-70%.
In the meantime, enjoy some trailers below!