The Fate of the Furious has just had the biggest worldwide box office opening of all time, dethroning Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The rise of Universal’s vehicular mayhem franchise has been one of the most staggering in modern Hollywood, with an oh-so 2000s trilogy somehow spawning one of the most self-aware, dumb-fun action movies ever, with the traditional street races making way for increasingly bonkers stunts and comparable plots.
The eighth and latest entry in the series, Fate, has just opened in cinemas. The film has been one of 2017’s most widely anticipated, with the controversy of the feud between stars Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson on set only really fuelling interest. Even from far-out tracking F. Gary Gray’s movie was expected to be a box office smash, although the full extent of it wasn’t fully apparent; after conservative estimates, it was predicted yesterday that the film wasn’t just a success but was on the way to breaking the opening weekend gross record. Now the final numbers are in.
The Fate of the Furious made $532.5 million in its first weekend, inching it past the $529 million posted in 2015 by Star Wars: The Force Awakens. As reported by Variety, the film made $100.2 million of that number domestically, but over 80% came from international markets, with $190 million from China alone.
Unsurpsingly given Fast and Furious‘ dominance, the numbers for other films were much lower. Domestically, two-time #1 The Boss Baby came in second on $15.5 million and Beauty and the Beast, which recently passed $1 billion worldwide, added another $13.6 million to its total. Smurfs: The Lost Village came in fourth and Going in Style fifth. Only the latter was a new release, with most big films trying to avoid direct competition with an obvious behemoth.
Many had expected The Force Awakens‘ record wouldn’t be topped anytime soon, at least until ticket inflation made it inevitable, but Fate has done it after only sixteen months. This is definitely surprising, although perhaps not as much as some would think. Furious 7 previously came close in 2015 (it was then only second to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2) before Jurassic World and then Star Wars stepped in, so this was always going to be a contender. A major factor here is the global audience of the Furious franchise; almost 40% of its total was from China, highlighting how important this market is increasingly becoming. In contrast, Star Wars has repeatedly to make a dent due to limited deep-set affection, with most of The Force Awakens and Rogue One‘s impressive takes coming from the West.
The question now is to the future. First, what will The Fate of the Furious‘ final box office take end up being? Assuming a similar longevity to Furious 7, that could see it heading towards the $2 billion mark and possibly robbing Star Wars of another title (although with weaker reviews and the removal of the Paul Walker factor it may not have quite as strong legs). Next, what movie could topple this record? The obvious candidates would be Star Wars: The Last Jedi or Jurassic World 2, although both of the original movies were coming at the end of a long hiatus for their respective franchises, a pop cultural event that will be hard to replicate with a standard sequel. Perhaps the best candidate (outside of Fast 9) is Avengers: Infinity War, which is already positioning itself as the culmination of the epic Marvel Cinematic Universe so far.
One thing is certain: Fast and Furious isn’t going anywhere. Already two more sequels are planned, a live tour is set for 2018 and there’s the distinct possibility of a spinoff for Hobbs, and after these numbers, Universal will surely be thinking even further into the future.
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