Box Office: 'Furious 7' Out Runs 'Paul Blart 2,' 'Unfriended'
By Brent Lang
LOS ANGELES, April 19 (Variety.com) - "Furious 7" ran laps around the competition, picking up $29.1 million in its third weekend of release, according to studio estimates.
The fast cars and gravity-defying stunts sequel is barreling towards the $300 million mark stateside having already hurtled past the $1 billion mark globally. Domestically, "Furious 7" has earned $294.4 million.
Despite the blockbuster's continued dominance, "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2" did better than expected, pulling in a solid $24 million across 3,633 locations. It had been projected to fall short of the $20 million barrier.
It's good news for Sony Pictures, which had a painful chapter from its recent history dredged up this week when Julian Assange's WikiLeaks published an archive of emails and documents that were stolen by Guardians of Peace. However, "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2" could not match the $31.8 million debut of the first film in the Blart chronicles.
With a modest $30 million production budget, the sequel will be profitable, Sony execs said.
"It was a little scary to be in ['Furious 7's'] wake, but that Blart is tough stuff," said Rory Bruer, Sony's distribution chief. "We exceeded expectations and held our ground despite this juggernaut."
The film brought back Kevin James as the hapless shopping center cop, but transplanted the segway shenanigans to Las Vegas. Critics were savage, handing "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2" a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes.
"This movie is about having fun and having some laughs with the whole family and it delivers on that," said Bruer. "If critics don't get that, I guess maybe they needed to see it with an audience or bring their kids." Continued...