April 2015 Box Office Forecast
By Michael Lynderey
April 2, 2015
April 2015 seems wedged helplessly between what are bound to be two of the year's biggest films. The studios have accepted this fate, scheduling a fairly limited slate of releases in between the two monstrosities, early April's Furious 7 (cannot wait!) and early May's Avengers 2 (was the first Avengers really crying out for a sequel?). Two of April's other weekends offer basically only one wide release, while the third strangely piles on four. Outside of the headlining car race sequel, only two or three films are likely to even pass $30 million total (and there's an offhand chance they won't). In short, if you've been looking for a lot of free time to watch Furious 7 over and over, you're in luck!
1. Furious 7 (April 3rd)
It was really Fast & Furious (2009) that began the tradition of releasing a sure-fire blockbuster on the first weekend of April, a date that has since launched juggernauts like Clash of the Titans and Captain America 2. The Fast & Furious franchise itself is pleasantly unique as one of the few remnants from the pre-fanboy box office era: it's practically the only live-action film series out there right now that isn't based on a pre-existing property (yes, there's a 1955 film called The Fast and the Furious, but the connection is tenuous). The series' history is fascinating: I still remember how two B-movies about car races were scheduled to open just months apart in 2001: Sylvester Stallone's Driven, about the Champ Car World Series, and the first The Fast and the Furious, which was street racing all the way. Few expected the latter film to overtake Stallone's, but an amazing thing happened: Driven, out at the end of a particularly slow April, totaled at $32 million and faded from the scene. Fast and Furious, with a plum June release date, opened bigger ($40 million) than Driven's entire gross, and launched a high-action franchise the likes of which even its makers could not have anticipated.
The series seemed to die off in 2006, before being brought back in a major way just three years later, the original cast together again as if nothing had changed at all. And each film since then has been better than the one before it (here's to this sequel continuing the tradition). Part 7 re-unites most of the cast to face off against Jason Statham, who's found himself in two likely blockbusters this year (see also Melissa McCarthy's already well-reviewed comedy, Spy, due in June). Also on hand is Kurt Russell, welcome to see in a big action film again. The presence of Paul Walker, playing his last film role in the franchise that made him a household name, is significant in unpredictable ways. Furious 7 is likely to be the biggest film of the series, it'll sure give most summer movies a run for their money, and it might just finally crack the $300 million domestic mark, a first for this series. I was there at the beginning, and I'll be rooting for it to go all the way.
Opening weekend: $130 million / Total gross: $295 million