‘The Fate of the Furious’ on Track to Become 2017’s Next $100M-Plus Opening

The eighth entry in Universal’s monster “Fast and Furious” franchise looks to land big in a largely non-competitive April

With “Beauty and the Beast” locking in the first $100+ million opening at the box office in 2017, it is expected to soon be joined by “The Fate of the Furious,” the eighth film in Universal’s unstoppable “Fast & Furious” franchise.

Early trackers project an opening weekend for “Fate” somewhere between $110-120 million. If it exceeds those expectations — which it is likely to do given the star power of its lead men, Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel — it would find itself in the same ballpark as the $135 million opening that “Fast & Furious 6” made in 2013.

But the brass ring that “Fate” is aiming for is the whopping $191.9 million made domestically by its 2015 predecessor, “Furious 7.” Globally, “Furious 7” made $397.6 million in its opening weekend — still in the top five biggest openings of all-time — before blowing by the $1 billion mark in just 17 days and reaching a final cume of $1.5 billion. The film became one of the most anticipated releases of 2015 after the death of long-time “F&F” star Paul Walker, which resulted in “Furious 7” being delayed so Walker’s character, Brian O’Conner, could be written out of the series tastefully, and a tribute to Walker could be added to the end of the film.

Like “Furious 7,” “Fate” will have the benefit of being the biggest release in an April that otherwise has very little buzz. The only other major release next month is Sony Pictures Animations’ “Smurfs: The Lost Village,” which will come out a week before “Fate.” With the two films targeting different audiences and the latter half of April serving as a brief pause for major studios before “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” kicks off the summer blockbuster season, “The Fate of the Furious” will find itself with a good chance to try and match “Furious 7”‘s haul.

“The Fate of the Furious” will feature Charlize Theron as Cipher, a criminal who manages to turn Dominic Toretto (Diesel) against Luke Hobbs (Johnson), his wife Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and his former team. Shocked and confused by Dominic’s betrayal, Hobbs must rally the rest of the “Family” to stop him and Cipher.

Directed by F. Gary Gray (“Straight Outta Compton”) and written by longtime “F&F” scribe Chris Morgan, the film also stars Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel and Kurt Russell. Diesel, Neal H. Moritz and Michael Fottrell are producers.