Box Office: 'Furious 7' Out Runs 'Paul Blart 2,' 'Unfriended'
By Brent Lang
LOS ANGELES (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 sequel with the the gravity-defying stunts is barreling toward the $300 million mark Stateside, having already hurtled past the $1 billion mark globally. Domestically, "Furious 7" has earned $294.4 million.
"This is how you build a record year," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak. "These are summer-style numbers in April."
Despite "Furious 7'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 hacker group 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. Continued...