Fast and Fu­ri­ous 7 de­stroys records

Lesotho Times - - Entertainment -

LOS AN­GE­LES — Fu­ri­ous 7 raced to the top of the do­mes­tic box of­fice, pick­ing up a mas­sive $143.6 mil­lion (M1.56 bil­lion) in its open­ing week­end.

That es­tab­lishes a new high­wa­ter mark for the month of April, blow­ing past the $95 mil­lion de­but of Cap­tain Amer­ica: The Win­ter Sol­dier, and stands as the high­est­gross­ing kick-off for any film in the Fast and Fu­ri­ous fran­chise. It also ranks ninth among the top ten open­ings in his­tory.

Much as The Dark Knight turned into a me­mo­rial for Heath Ledger, au­di­ences flocked to see star Paul Walker in one of his fi­nal roles. The ac­tor died in a 2013 car crash at the age of 40 and his work on the film was com­pleted us­ing dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy and a se­ries of stand-ins.

“This is a bit­ter­sweet in­stal­ment in the fran­chise,” said Phil Con­trino, vice pres­i­dent and chief an­a­lyst at Boxof­fice.com. “(Walker’s) pass­ing made this movie more in­trigu­ing for peo­ple who hadn’t seen some of the in­stal­ments. It raised aware­ness and its suc­cess is a trib­ute to him.”

Uni­ver­sal Pic­tures spared no ex­pense in bring­ing the lat­est chap­ter in the fast cars and grav­ity-de­fy­ing-stunts se­ries to the big screen, shelling out $190 mil­lion on the pro­duc­tion. It un­spooled in 4,003 North Amer­i­can the­atres, earn­ing $14 mil­lion on 365 Imax screens and $11.5 mil­lion from pre­mium large for­mat screens. Go­ing into the week­end, most an­a­lysts es­ti­mated that the film would open in the $115 mil­lion range.

For­eign num­bers were steroidal. In­ter­na­tion­ally, the film rolled out across 10,500 screens in 63 ter­ri­to­ries, earn­ing $240.4 mil­lion.

“This is the next mem­ber of the bil­lion dollar club and that’s a rar­efied place to be,” said Con­trino. “This thing is on fire.”

With an A Cine­mas­core and strong re­views, Fu­ri­ous 7 could be one of the few mod­ern block­busters that hangs on for more than a few weeks. The month of April is lean on block­buster fare and Fu­ri­ous 7 won’t get se­ri­ous com­pe­ti­tion un­til The Avengers: Age of Ul­tron de­buts on 1 May. — Va­ri­ety

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