Fate Can't Match Furious 7 Domestically But Box Office Still Stellar
By John Hamann
April 16, 2017
The weekend total for The Fate of the Furious came in at a powerful $100.2 million. As expected, this total is lower than Furious 7 but higher than Furious 6. I think Universal and producer Neal Moritz of Original Film, will be very happy to have Furious 8 debut where it did, right at the century mark, as the opening-to-total multiplier for the last three films has ranged between 2.4 and 2.45, which means that this one should finish with about $260 million stateside. As described above, though, home is not where the money is for the Furious franchise. Things have changed significantly since the first film was released. The three-day weekend in China was worth $190 million, a record opening there, and the overseas haul came in at $432.3 million, which means the global first three days of this blockbuster is already $532.5 million.
There are a couple of different estimates on the budget for Furious 8. I've seen a figure of $190 million earlier this month, but all I see now is the $250 million number. Given that reports have Dwayne Johnson earning $32.6 million (a guess would be $10-15 million plus a large back end) for Furious 7, and it is said that Vin Diesel earns $15 million to act, and then he would take another large salary and chunk of the back end for his producing role as well (Diesel has been listed as a producer since the reboot Fast & Furious). The cast alone here is impressive and costly, as the aforementioned Diesel and Johnson would be up for $30 million minimum. Add Jason Statham and Kurt Russell, plus the franchise stalwarts of at least the last three or four films - Michelle Rodriguez, Ludacris, and Tyrese Gibson. This time around, we have to add Charlize Theron, so adding it all up, it looks like an actors' budget of $75 million before you even start shooting. The rest of the money is literally up on the screen.
How will Fate of the Furious do going forward? It's always very hard to tell, but here are the clues we have to work with. Over the next two weeks, we see eight new releases open, none of which will pull from Furious 8's power. The biggest of the eight is likely The Circle, with Tom Hanks and Emma Watson, but that is two weeks out. Reviews don't really matter, but Fate of the Furious is 64% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, lower than the last five resurgent Furious films, which are led by Furious 7's 79% fresh rating, and the lowest being the reboot, Fast & Furious at 28%. The Cinemascore is key – this one earned an A, which keeps it in line with the last two films (parts 3, 4, and 5 earned an A-). This tells us that word-of-mouth should be similar, but I have seen some online grumbling about some of the stunts and excess. In the end, thanks to a higher gross in China than stateside, everybody involved will make out like bandits, and we will be back again in two years, discussing the dominance of Furious 9.
There were other films in release this weekend. Our running kid film battle continued, as The Boss Baby and Beauty and the Beast continued their dogfight. This weekend, though, The Boss Baby extended its lead, as the DreamWorks Animation title managed to take in $15.5 million in its third weekend, off by 41%, whereas Beauty earned $13.6 million in weekend five, off by 42%. The Boss Baby got by the $100 million mark on Thursday, its 13th day of release, and it now has $116.3 million in its coffers, against a budget of $125 million. Beauty crossed the $450 million mark on Saturday, its 30th day of release. It becomes only one of ten films to clear that amount, and does it in the seventh fastest time. It will eventually join the eight films that have earned $500 million domestically, but that is still a few weekends away yet. Beauty also cleared the $1 billion mark in global sales, as it has earned $588 million overseas.