Sunday, April 5, 2015

Box Office: 'Furious 7' Races To Near-Record $384M Worldwide Bow

Furious 7 took off like greased lightning over Easter weekend, debuting with a smashing $143.6 million Friday-to-Sunday bow and an eye-popping $384m worldwide debut. But first the domestic figures: The film got started with a $67.3m opening Friday (including $15.8m worth of Thursday previews), which is the ninth-biggest opening Friday of all time (and the eleventh-biggest single day, period), and now it has the ninth-biggest Fri-Sun debut weekend of all-time, between Spider-Man 3 ($151m) and The Twilight Saga: New Moon ($142m). Considering how little of that Friday number was comprised of Thursday previews, I was hoping that the film could outrun the Good Friday frontloading curse, but it was not to be. Discounting Thursday/midnight preview totals that are added into the Friday numbers, Furious 7 had the third-biggest “pure Friday” gross of all-time with $51.5m, behind only Iron Man 3 ($53m) and The Avengers ($61m). Had this seventh film performed like a normal Fast/Furious installment with an over/under 2.5x weekend multiplier we’d be looking at a near-record $170m debut and easily the biggest 2D opening of all time (still held by The Dark Knight Rises with $160m). But as I noted over the last couple days, there is a history of movies being insanely frontloaded over the Good Friday weekend (The Hannah Montana MovieClash of the TitansWater For ElephantsAmerican ReunionA Haunted House 2, etc.) because kids were out of school on Friday and because today is Easter. So, alas, the film got kneecapped by destiny and has to settle for a mere $145m debut weekend and a rather low 2.13x multiplier. 
F For the record, the grim tone of the above paragraph is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, as we are talking about a friggin $143m debut weekend for the seventh installment of a fourteen-year old franchise. It’s the sixth-biggest 2D debut of all-time and the biggest opening weekend since The Hunger Games: Catching Fire nabbed $158 million back in November 2013. It has already outgrossed the domestic totals of Fast & the Furious: Tokyo Drift ($62m) and 2 Fast 2 Furious ($127m). It will probably outgross The Fast & the Furious ($144m) and Fast & Furious ($155m) by tomorrow. If it merely has the “legs” of Fast Five and drops 63% next weekend, it still gets to around $233m domestic by next Sunday, putting it within an earshot of outcrossing Fast & Furious 6 ($238m) and becoming the top-grossing film of the franchise even when adjusted for inflation. And that’s not counting the overseas booty. I don’t have the numbers yet, but we’re all expecting over $300m worldwide by today. I don’t want to guestimate based on one weekend of overseas box office, but the last film earned $788m worldwide off a $238m domestic total back in 2013. It is not crazy to at least consider the possibility of a $1 billion-grossing Fast & Furious installment.
In terms of domestic prospects, the film’s parameters are a 2.21x weekend-to-final multiplier (Fast & Furious) which would give the film a $317 million total and a 2.45x multiplier (Fast Five and Furious 6) which would give the film a $351m domestic total. Yes, the three earlier films had 2.65x multipliers (which would mean a $380m total) but I’d be a little surprised to see legs that strong in this environment, even with little competition over the next three weeks. I’m not saying “won’t,” but I don’t want to overinflate the predictions and have to defend the film in six weeks when it “only” does $315m domestic. And if the film does the lowest likely domestic total ($317m, ala Fast & Furious) and does “only” 60% of its worldwide business overseas (Tokyo Drift, natch), then we’re still looking at a $803m worldwide total.
But if the film has mere Fast Five legs and mere Fast Five “does 66% of its business overseas,” then yeah, we’re looking at $1 billion worldwide for this $250m installment. But that’s a ways off, especially with Walt Disney's DIS +0.53% Avengers: Age of Ultron stealing some of its momentum when it opens in copious overseas markets on April 22nd/April 23rd. As mentioned above, the worldwide take is a stunning $384 million. That’s the fourth-biggest worldwide debut of all-time behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part II ($483.2m), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ($394m), and The Avengers ($392.5m), while just ahead of Transformers: Dark of the Moon ($382.4m). With $240.4m in the international grosses, the film has the third-biggest foreign debut ever, behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part II ($314m) and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides ($260.4m). This seventh film in the franchise has already passed the overseas totals of The Fast & the Furious ($62.9m); 2 Fast 2 Furious ($109m),The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift ($96m), and Fast & Furious ($208m). So yeah, $1 billion is looking pretty likely at this point.The film earned $14m of that gross via 365 IMAX screens, making up 9,7% of the total. The film earned $22m worldwide in IMAX.  Not to be completely outdone, the “Premium Large Format” engagements brought in $11.5m on 400 PLF screens, which made up 8% of the total gross. The number itself is a record for PLF debut weekends, topping the $9.8m of the $121m debut weekend of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay part I back in November of 2014, back when Interstellar was monopolizing IMAX screens. But the per-screen-average and total gross trophies go to IMAX this weekend. I will be checking out Furious 7 a second time in order to sample local D-Box as soon as my wife catches up with the series. We’ve finally gotten over the “lesser” installments and will try to watch Fast Five tonight.
James Wan delivered his first mega-budget project in high style under the most difficult of circumstances, and Universal showed absolutely no fear in marketing this thing as if it were just any other Fast & Furious installment. They even managed to be a little less spoilery this time around. And yes, as grotesque as it may be to discuss, the shocking accidental death of star Paul Walker gave this seventh installment increased urgency among hardcore fans of the franchise and additional curiosity for general moviegoers.  This is the biggest opening weekend for all involved parties, and it is already respectively Kurt Russell’s and  Jason Statham’s biggest-grossing film ever in America. It’s already Dwayne Johnson’s biggest non-Fast/Furious grosser ever outside of his glorified cameo in The Mummy Returns ($201m), and to be fair he basically has a glorified cameo this time around as well.
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