Fate Can't Match Furious 7 Domestically But Box Office Still Stellar
By John Hamann
April 16, 2017
Then, in late November 2013, Paul Walker passed away during filming of Furious 7. While tragic, it sent awareness of the film through the roof, which pushed the debut weekend to $147 million, the domestic gross to $353 million, and the worldwide take to $1.5 billion – all against a budget of $190 million. That worldwide amount is the seventh best all-time and is only $2 million behind Marvel's Avengers. The $1.16 billion that Furious 7 earned still stands as third best overseas total ever, outpacing mega blockbusters like Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($1.13 billion) and Jurassic World ($1.01 billion overseas). Why the big jump between the Furious 6 overseas total ($550 million) to that of Furious 7? China, of course – Furious 6 was the first time a Furious film had opened in the Middle Kingdom, and it took in a decent $66 million there. Then came Furious 7, and the Chinese drove their portion of the foreign gross up to $391 million. That's $265 million more than The Force Awakens earned there ($124.1 million).
I had questions going into the opening weekend of Fate of the Furious. Compared to Furious 7, how much lower would the domestic opening weekend be? Would $100 million over three days be too much to ask? What would the China result be? The debut in China for the Furious 7 was on Sunday, when it earned $65 million. The following weekend came in at $182 million, and it remains the top opener. This time, the opening is day and date as the US, with Thursday previews and an opening day Friday. Thursday preview amounts came in at an estimated $8.7 million, and the opening day (combined Thursday/Friday) was recorded at $64 million, which means it was on pace with Furious 7. With this kind of weekend expected in China alone, I think all the worries about a production budget rumored to be as high as $250 million are all for naught.
Let's start with the domestic totals. The Fate of the Furious (aka Furious 8) got started on Thursday, earning a solid $10.4 million, again as expected, behind Furious 7's Thursday preview amount of $15.8 million. Let's keep in mind that Fast & Furious 6 is likely the better comparator for F8. Its Thursday preview amount came in at $6.5 million, quite a bit lower than Furious 8. The preview does align with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which earned $10.2 million when it opened on April 4th, 2014, before going on to have an opening day of $36.9 million and an opening weekend of $95 million. Keep those numbers in mind as we go forward.
The opening day for Furious 8 is reported at $45.6 million, putting it well off of Furious 7's opening day at $67.4 million by $22 million, but ahead of the $38.7 million that Furious 6 opened to over its first Thursday/Friday. If we strip out the Thursday preview numbers, the true Friday for Furious 8 came in at $34.8 million, whereas Furious 7's was $52.4 million, and Furious 6 had a true Friday of $27.9 million. On Saturday, Furious 8 is estimated to have earned $31.8 million, again lower than Furious 7's $46.6 million and slightly higher than the $31.7 million earned by Furious 6. You can however see the gap closing between Furious 8 and Furious 6.