‘The Fate of the Furious’ Zooms to the Biggest Worldwide Opening of All Time, Passing ‘The Force Awakens’
Posted on Monday, April 17th, 2017 by Hoai-Tran Bui
The Fate of the Furious sped to the top of the box office on its opening weekend, knocking Star Wars: The Force Awakens down as the title-holder of the biggest worldwide box office opening of all time.
The Fate of the Furious made $532.5 million in its first weekend, just beating the $529 million record earned in 2015 by Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I guess all that NOS paid off.
Fate of the Furious may have been quick to sweep American theaters, but it turns out that China has the head start at the box office. The eighth installment of the Fast and Furious franchise made $100.2 million of that number domestically, but over 80% of its opening weekend came from international markets, with $190 million from China alone, according to Variety.
Variety does note, however, that Chinese theaters only give studios about 25 percent of ticket sales, roughly half of what they receive in most major territories.
It’s an indicator of what a box office power the Chinese market has become, especially for adrenaline-packed blockbusters like the Fast and Furious franchise, which counts 40 percent of its audience from China.
This isn’t the first time the Fast franchise has come close to that first place opening weekend title. Furious 7 came within spitting distance in 2015, screeching to a halt before it could beat Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2. Then Jurassic World and Star Wars entered the race and left the rest of the 2015 blockbusters in the dust.
Diversity Pays Off in the International Box Office Race
While much of the Fast and Furious success is credited to the blockbuster-thirsty Chinese market, let’s not forget how the famously diverse cast appeals to the rest of the international audiences. Steeped in multi-ethnic culture of the LA racing scene where the Fast and Furious got its start, Fate of the Furious recalls its Hispanic roots by beginning in Cuban setting, with characters trading Spanish-language barbs. With Vin Diesel leading a racially and gender diverse cast including new additions Helen Mirren and Charlize Theron, as well as franchise veterans Kurt Russell, Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, Jason Statham, and Michelle Rodriguez, the Fast and Furious series is still at the forefront of movie representation at a time that Hollywood is much-criticized for “whitewashed” casting decisions.
That diversity pays off at the box office, too. The raw data backs it up: Hispanics made up 26% of the audience, African-Americans comprised 19%, and Asians accounted for 11% of ticket sales. Despite Theron’s female villain, Fate of the Furious is still very much testosterone-targeted, with men making up 58% of ticket buyers.
But what of the one missing cast member, whose loss is still felt four years after his tragic death? Paul Walker’s absence made an impact on the critical reception of Fate of the Furious, which featured more tepid reviews than its predecessors. The off-screen feud — known as the “Candy Ass Saga” — between stars Diesel and Johnson also may have undermined the emotional heft of a franchise rooted in brotherhood and family. Those factors may ultimately impact the longevity of the film’s box office legs, and may have factored into the film’s domestic drop-off from Furious 7′s $147.2 million box office opening (Fate took in an estimated $100.2 million domestically).
Still, with Fate of the Furious going full throttle on its opening weekend, it’s unsurprising that its competition racked in much lower numbers. Domestically, two-time #1 The Boss Baby came in second on $15.5 million and Beauty and the Beast took in another $13.6 million to its $1 billion box office total. Smurfs: The Lost Village came in fourth and Going in Style fifth. Only Going in Style was a new release, with most big films trying to avoid direct competition with Fate of the Furious.
With the opening weekend’s success, this guarantees that this won’t be the last we’ll see of the Fast and Furious franchise. Two more sequels are already planned, a live tour is set for 2018 and Hobbs may even get his own spin-off (I hope it’s a 3 Men and a Baby situation with Decker, Dom and the newest family addition). With these numbers, anything is possible.Cool Posts From Around the Web: