Box office: 'Furious 7' dominates competition with $60.6 million

Sun Apr 12, 2015 4:08pm EDT
 
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By Brent Lang

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - It wasn't even a contest.

"Furious 7" roared to the top of the box office chart for the second weekend in a row, picking up $60.6 million and driving its stateside total to a massive $252.5 million. That's a slender 59% drop from the Universal Pictures release's record-breaking $147.2 million debut and puts "Furious 7" on track to be the highest-grossing film in the history of the "Fast and Furious" franchise.

"People feel like they're living through the summer movie season right now even though it's not summer," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak. "It's the essence of a popcorn movie."

It's also the essence of perfect timing. By debuting in April, "Furious 7" avoided being cannibalized by other major summer tentpole films. The next heavyweight to enter the multiplexes is "Avengers: Age of Ultron," which doesn't hit screens until May 1.

"Studios are not afraid to place a strong movie in unconventional times and it's paying off quite well," said Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. "There's no need to open everything in June, July or May when you'll get creamed by whatever opens the next week."

Records continue to be left in the rear view mirror. "Furious 7" is now the fastest Universal release to cross $200 million, jetting by that barrier in only eight days. It took "Despicable Me 2," the studio's previous high-water mark, 11 days to reach that milestone. "Furious 7" is also one of only a dozen movies to do more than $60 million in its second weekend.

Fan interest in seeing how "Furious 7" would handle the death of star Paul Walker is helping to drive ticket buyers to the sequel. Walker was killed in a car accident in 2013 at the age of 40 before filming was completed on the picture.

"It's getting the best reviews of the franchise and people are talking about the poignancy of the footage of Paul Walker," said Dergarabedian. "The fans are basically in charge of marketing it right now and they're creating great word-of-mouth."   Continued...

 
Cast members Dwayne Johnson poses at the premiere of "Furious 7" at the TCL Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California April 1, 2015. The movie opens in the U.S. on April 3. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni