‘Fate of the Fu­ri­ous’ on road to record global de­but

The Washington Times Daily - - LIFE - BY LIND­SEY BAHR

LOS AN­GE­LES | The eighth in­stall­ment in the “Fast and the Fu­ri­ous” is on the path to be­com­ing the big­gest world­wide de­but of all time, best­ing both “Star Wars: The Force Awak­ens” and “Juras­sic World.”

Uni­ver­sal Pic­tures on Sun­day es­ti­mated that “The Fate of the Fu­ri­ous” would earn a record $532.5 mil­lion world­wide over the hol­i­day week­end, thanks to a par­tic­u­larly ro­bust show­ing in 63 ter­ri­to­ries, in­clud­ing China.

If the fig­ures hold, it will just inch past the pre­vi­ous record holder, “Star Wars: The Force Awak­ens” which launched to $529 mil­lion in De­cem­ber 2015 with­out China.

The film broke the record for big­gest in­ter­na­tional week­end ever, with $432.3 mil­lion. The pre­vi­ous record holder was “Juras­sic World” with $316.7 mil­lion.

“There is no mar­ket that hasn’t had a strong re­cep­tion,” said Dun­can Clark, Uni­ver­sal’s pres­i­dent of in­ter­na­tional dis­tri­bu­tion. “What­ever cul­ture, what­ever lan­guage, what­ever coun­try, we seem to have found a home.”

The China open­ing alone brought in a record $190 mil­lion fol­lowed by $17.8 mil­lion from Mex­ico and $17 mil­lion from the U.K. and Ire­land.

An es­ti­mated $100.2 mil­lion of the global to­tal comes from 4,310 North Amer­i­can theaters — a sec­ond best for the franchise and enough to eas­ily top the do­mes­tic charts, but well be­low the $147.2 mil­lion open­ing of “Fu­ri­ous 7” in 2015.

“Fu­ri­ous 7” had a groundswell of ad­di­tional in­ter­est due to the death of ac­tor Paul Walker, who played cop turned street racer Brian O’Con­ner, a lead char­ac­ter in six of the films. He died in a car crash while the film was still in pro­duc­tion.

For the stu­dio, “Fast 8” stands on its own as be­ing “an ex­tra­or­di­nary re­sult.”

“Each one of these films has its own mo­men­tum,” said Nick Car­pou, Uni­ver­sal’s pres­i­dent of do­mes­tic dis­tri­bu­tion. “There are fac­tors from one film to the next that make them unique and cer­tainly there were unique fac­tors with ‘Fu­ri­ous 7.’”

“The Fate of the Fu­ri­ous” has many of the re­turn­ing stars like Vin Diesel, Dwayne John­son, Michelle Ro­driguez, Tyrese and Lu­dacris, but has added some new el­e­ments be­hind the cam­era in di­rec­tor F. Gary Gray and in front of the cam­era with Char­l­ize Theron.

The $100.2 mil­lion is slightly be­low an­a­lyst ex­pec­ta­tions for the film. Au­di­ences were 58 per­cent male, 50 per­cent un­der the age of 25 and di­verse (41 per­cent were Cau­casian, 26 per­cent His­panic and 19 per­cent African Amer­i­can).

The stu­dio has not re­leased an of­fi­cial pro­duc­tion bud­get, but it is re­ported to be in the pricey $250 mil­lion range. How­ever, an A Cin­ema Score from exit polls sug­gest that it will have suf­fi­cient stay­ing power.

The “Fast and the Fu­ri­ous” is a global jug­ger­naut for Uni­ver­sal Pic­tures, which plans two ad­di­tional pic­tures. With the ad­di­tion of “Fast 8,” the franchise has earned an es­ti­mated $4.4 bil­lion glob­ally.

“It is a franchise that has adapted and changed over the years and is as rel­e­vant in 2017 as it was in 2001,” noted Paul Der­garabe­dian, the se­nior me­dia an­a­lyst for com Score. “The ‘Fu­ri­ous’ franchise per­fectly rep­re­sents what that global au­di­ence is all about. They’re poised per­fectly for in­stall­ments nine and 10 to do very well. It’s still fir­ing on all cylin­ders.”

The rest of the chart looked sleepy in com­par­i­son to the fresh fuel of “The Fate of the Fu­ri­ous.” “The Boss Baby” took sec­ond with $15.5 mil­lion, while “Beauty and the Beast” held on to third place with $13.6 mil­lion.

“Beauty and the Beast” crossed the $1 bil­lion mark world­wide this week­end. Round­ing out the top five were “Smurfs: The Lost Vil­lage” with $6.5 mil­lion and “Go­ing in Style” with $6.4 mil­lion.

The sum­mer movie sea­son re­ally kicks into high gear in a few weeks when “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” goes into or­bit on May 5.

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