The franchise that started out as a throwaway B-movie, and limped through two in-name-only sequels before catching blockbuster fire in its fifth installment, is now breaking the bank with chapter seven. “Furious 7” opened to a massive $16 million Thursday night, an even more massive $68 million Friday, and could land romantically close to $150 million by Monday morning.
Breaking the record for an April opening is a foregone conclusion. The question is whether or not the ongoing adventures of Dom, Letty, and Brian can power past the all-time non-summer record, which is currently held by the March 2012, $152.5 million opening of “The Hunger Games.”
CinemaScore reports that audiences are giving “Furious 7” a solid A, which bodes well for word of mouth and repeat business. (I know I want to see it again.)
Should “Furious 7” reach $150 million, its opening weekend will out-gross the total domestic take of the first three installments: “The Fast and the Furious” ($144 million), “2 Fast 2 Furious” ($127 million), and “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” ($63 million). The fourth installment, “Fast and Furious” grossed $155 million.
As far as franchise opening weekends, it is not even close. “Fast & Furious 6” held the previous record of $97 million.
“Furious 7” represents the end of a trilogy, that began with “Fast Five,” and the end of an era that came with the untimely death of star Paul Walker in a freak automobile accident. With this kind of box office, however, and audience goodwill still at a peak, we are almost certain to see an 8th installment before long.
In other box office news, Dreamworks Animation received its first bit of good news in a long time. The embattled studio has a hit with “Home,” which has earned $98 million in just two weeks. While that’s not blockbuster territory, it is at least a success. A flop would have been devastating.
“Get Hard,” the Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart buddy comedy that got the Left upset because portraying gay prison rape as a bad thing is homophobic, or something, took a deep dive of -61% in its second weekend. By Monday it will sit at a just-okay $57 million.
“Insurgent” is petering out fast. The “Hunger Games” wannabe franchise needed three weekends to cross $100 million, and did so just barely with $104 million.
Disney’s live-action adaptation of “Cinderella” earned $10 million in its fourth week, to earn a total of $165 million. The studio now has another money-printing machine one it hands; live-action adaptations of it most beloved animated films.
Most of these numbers are courtesy of the hard work of Deadline, where there is much more.
John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC