Universal’s blockbuster action sequel “Furious 7” roared to a staggering $198 million at the box office in its second weekend of release abroad, powered by record-breaking debuts in China and Russia.
That upped its international total to $548 million and, with its $252 million domestic total, “Furious 7” has lifted its global haul to $800 million after just 12 days in release. In addition to all but assuring that it will top $1 billion in worldwide grosses, the monster overseas weekend drove the “Fast and Furious” franchise over the $3 billion mark at the worldwide box office.
“Furious 7” was No. 1 in all 67 countries in which it played this weekend and is up hugely over earlier films in the series overseas. “Furious 7” has already topped the $416 million international total of “Fast and Furious 5” and on Monday will pass the $550 million of “Fast and Furious 6.” This is the fastest any film has crossed $500 million abroad in Universal history.
In China, it brought in an estimated $68.6 million on Sunday, the highest single-day total ever in that country. That included $5 million from Imax theaters alone, another record. With that start, “Furious 7” will almost certainly top the $92 million debut of last year’s “Transformers: Age of Extinction” as the biggest three-day opening ever in China.
And in Russia, it brought in $15 million, the best four-day opening ever in that country. The James Wan-directed action epic dominated with 90 percent of all tickets sold.
Universal’s head of international distribution Duncan Clarke on Sunday attributed the gain over the earlier films to several factors.
“It’s a really good movie, the best in the series I believe, and I’m glad to say that matters most,” he told TheWrap. “The Paul Walker factor made it very emotional for a lot of fans and that made a difference, too.”
Clark said that many overseas moviegoers feared this would be the last “Fast and Furious” movie, and that provided motivation as well.
“After six, now seven films, this cast and this franchise have established themselves and, by virtue of their success and staying power, are part of a very unique group that people wanted to see while they had the chance,” he said.
Anticipation was huge for the film in China, stoked by the recent Beijing visits of cast members Vin Diesel, Jason Statham and Michelle Rodriguez. The film’s $8 million Saturday midnight show haul was by far the biggest ever there, well ahead of the $3.4 million earned by “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”
“Furious 7” is in 3D overseas, the first film in the franchise to have offered it, and those premiums surely helped.
Given its spectacular box-office performance so far, it’s hard to imagine there won’t by more “Furious” coming from Universal. So those overseas fans didn’t have to worry after all.