Brian Cunningham | Latest ‘Furious’ film opens strongly, especially outside of the US

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Universal’s action thriller The Fate of the Furious hit the ground in super-high gear this weekend, taking in US$100.2 million ($140 million) on North American screens while roaring to record global revenues of more than a half-billion dollars, industry analysts estimated.

Exhibitor Relations said the latest chapter in Universal Studio’s “Fast and Furious” series accounted for nearly two-thirds of North American revenues over the three-day Easter weekend, leaving previous frontrunner The Boss Baby in its dust with just US$15.5 million in sales. That Fox/DreamWorks Animation film has now grossed US$116.3 million domestically.

While the latest “Fast” opened strongly, the manic muscle-car-filled film – with megastars Vin Diesel and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson – made nearly a third less in its first weekend than the previous “Fast and Furious” chapter, which scored US$147.2 million.

But the new film had an exceptionally strong performance in the rest of the world, led by China, bringing in US$432.3 million. With North American sales added in, the estimated US$532.5 million global debut would break the record of US$529 million held by Star Wars: The Force Awakens, website BoxOfficeMojo.com reported.

“Beauty and the Beast” continued to draw viewers, earning $13.6 million in its fifth week out. The Disney blockbuster, starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, has taken in $454.7 million domestically while pushing past $1 billion

The animated Smurfs: The Lost Village from Sony came in next at US$6.5 million. That was half its opening take from a week earlier.

Holding fifth spot on North American screens was Going in Style. The Warner Bros. comedy, starring Morgan Freeman, Alan Arkin and Michael Caine as aging bank robbers, had weekend sales of US$6.3 million.

Rounding out the top 10 are: Gifted (US$3.0 million) Get Out (US$2.9 million) Power Rangers (US$2.9 million) The Case for Christ (US$2.7 million) Kong: Skull Island (US$2.7 million)

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