Furious 7 Races to Records at Hot Weekend Box Office
By John Hamann
April 5, 2015
On Saturday, Furious 7 would be looking to match that opening day gross as much as possible, but a more realistic effort would have it matching the Friday gross without the Thursday preview amount included. A Saturday at $50 million and a Sunday at $35 million would put Furious 7 at $150 million, but it had to deal with the Easter effect. This morning’s estimate has the Saturday at $46.3 million, which means the WAG (wild-ass-guess) for Sunday was $30 million, giving Furious 7 an estimated weekend total of $143.6 million, the ninth biggest opening frame in history, and it opened in April. APRIL.
The weekend estimate means that Furious 7 outgrossed last weekend’s entire top 12 films ($142.3 million) all by itself, and outdid all the weekends this year save two – the one where American Sniper earned $90 million, and the one where Fifty Shades of Grey opened to $85 million. Out to 4,004 venues, Furious 7 garnered a venue average of $35,870 thanks to Universal’s widest release ever. That count was 345 screens fewer than The Avengers, and had it maintained the average and included those additional screens, it would have made an additional $13 million, putting it into the top four openers of all time.
While Furious 7 owes a lot of its opening success to the passing of Paul Walker, that’s like saying The Dark Knight only opened to $158.4 million because of the death of Heath Ledger. What both films had more in common is that they are good films that are parts of successful franchises. Furious 7 is 81% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, better than the 68% rating of Furious 6 and the 78% rating of Fast Five. Furious 7 earned an A Cinemascore, which matches that of the last two Furious films, and will put it easily on pace to be 2015’s second $300 million plus earner after American Sniper. Last year, Captain America: The Winter Soldier started the summer early over the same weekend. Furious 7 has little competition until Avengers: Age of Ultron opens on May 1st. After that, it's blockbuster hopscotch, as one huge film opens after the other.
Also of note is Furious 7's overseas gross, as it earned a massive $240.4 million from those international venues. The global total for the film - after one weekend - is $384 million. This thing is officially a juggernaut, and sets the summer blockbuster season in motion in a very positive way.
The rest of the top ten took it on the chin this weekend thanks to Furious 7, but the overall gross was still scintillating in its success due to some decent holdovers – which further shows the power of the Universal sequel. Last weekend’s winner Home is second, as Furious 7 pushed the DreamWorks Animation title out of the biggest theaters in multiplexes. Home earned $11.3 million Friday, off only 28% compared to its first Friday, but remember it’s Easter. So, instead of improving over the rest of the weekend like usual, the opposite happens due to the holiday (Good Friday up, Easter Sunday down).