Weekend Box Office (April 3 - 5, 2015)

by Sujit Chawla

THIS WEEKEND Furious 7 opened to record numbers, and a bunch of other movies also happened to be playing in the same theaters and a few people went and saw them, probably because Furious 7 was sold out.

You know when something is expected to happen, just not as much as what actually happens? That's how one would describe the monstrous opening of Furious 7 this weekend. Opening in 4,004 theaters, at least one of which in Queens, NY played the movie 24 hours a day, Furious 7 exploded with a towering $143.5M this weekend, according to estimates. The records are almost too numerous to mention, but here are a few. It was the 9th biggest opening weekend of all-time and the 3rd biggest outside of the summer movie season (behind only the first two Hunger Games films). Internationally it took in an estimated $240.4M which is the 3rd highest international opening behind only Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Which makes its worldwide opening of $384M the 4th highest global opening weekend behind Deathly Hallows- Part 2, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and The Avengers. It set new records for the biggest opening in the month of April (destroying the $95M Captain America: The Winter Solider made just last year) and is the biggest opening weekend in the history of Universal Studios.

Let's take a step back and marvel at how this franchise, which almost went into the world of straight-to-DVD, managed to reboot itself and take a leap forward at the same time. Below is a chart of the entire franchise to date:

Title Opening Total Date
Furious 7 $143,623,000 $143,623,000 4/3/2015
Fast & Furious 6 $97,375,245 $238,679,850 5/24/2013
Fast Five $86,198,765 $209,837,675 4/29/2011
Fast & Furious $70,950,500 $155,064,265 4/3/2009
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift $23,973,840 $62,514,415 6/16/2006
2 Fast 2 Furious $50,472,480 $127,154,901 6/6/2003
The Fast and the Furious $40,089,015 $144,533,925 6/22/2001

First off, the idea that an action franchise could go seven films deep is just about unheard of. But to have a franchise that makes more money as it goes along? And this isn't something that's based on a book where you know how the story ends and the excitement builds, this is an original franchise where writers have to keep coming up with bigger and bolder stunts and sequences. When Vin Diesel and the late Paul Walker decided to come back and reboot the series in 2009 with Fast & Furious, audiences forgot about the disappointment of Tokyo Drift and came roaring back to see their favorite duo teaming up once again. Each film after that upped the ante, adding previous cast members and having new ones (ie. Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson) join in the fun as well. Audiences were well primed for Furious 7 anyway, but the sudden death of Walker in 2013 added to the must-see aura of the film. The cast, crew and the studio made this a fitting tribute to Walker with fans coming out to pay their last respects, and even with a tear in their eye, had a great time seeing Walker one last time in his most famous role.

The CinemaScore was an A, meaning people loved what they saw, which could lead to strong holds over the next few weeks before The Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters in May. The audience was evenly split with 51% males and 49% females. And, in keeping with the multicultural nature of the cast, the audience was 37% Hispanic, 25% Caucasian, 24% African American and 10% Asian. This film literally had something for everyone.

Yes, there were other movies still playing this weekend. Second place belonged to last weekend's top film, Home which fell a reasonable 47% to an estimated $27.4M, bringing its total up to $95.6M. With no other films targeting children over the next many weeks, its weekend drops should slow down and it could reach $185-200M by the end of its run, which would be a nice surprise for the embattled DreamWorks Animation studio.

Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell took third place as Get Hard fell a hefty 62% from last weekend to an estimated $13M, bringing its total up to $57M. Furious took a bite out of all of the top 10, but Get Hard got hit the hardest and what on paper looked like a surefire $100M may have a hard time getting there. Pun intended.

Two female-driven films came within a few hundred thousand of each other and landed in fourth and fifth place. First was the Disney live-action remake Cinderella which fell just under 40% in its 4th weekend to $10.3M, according to estimates, bringing its total to $167M. And in fifth was The Divergent Series: Insurgent which fell 53.6% to an estimated $10M, helping it cross the $100M mark this weekend with a current total of $103.4M. It's falling at a faster rate than Divergent and won't be able to reach the $151M that film got to, but could still end up around $130M with two more films in the pipeline.

Indie horror darling It Follows added 437 theaters but fell 35% from last weekend to an estimated $2.5M for a current cume of $8.5M. It seems mainstream audiences aren't digging the scares as much as limited audiences did. Still, for a film built a lot on word-of-mouth, and with only a $2M budget, it has to be considered a success.

Another newcomer landed in the 7th spot this weekend as the Helen Mirren holocaust drama Woman in Gold debuted with an estimated $2M from 1,327 theaters for a per screen average of a very solid $7,767. Critical reviews were very mixed which could keep the grosses down in the upcoming weeks, as this is the type of film where people care about reviews.

Kingsman: The Secret Service continued its strong run as it has now been in the top 10 for two months. This weekend it made another $1.7M, according to estimates, bringing its cume up to $122M. Ninth place belonged to the Christian drama Do You Believe? which, despite it being Easter weekend, fell 35% from last weekend to an estimated $1.5M and a total of only $9.8M. And rounding out the top 10 was The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel which rounded up another $1M, according to estimates, for a total to date of $30M.

Compared to projections, Furious 7 drove right by Gitesh's $113M prediction.

For a review of Furious 7 visit The Chief Report.

Rewind back to when The Fast and the Furious first opened on the weekend of June 22 - 24, 2001.

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Watch the trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road.

Be sure to check back on Monday for final figures and again on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when the romantic drama The Longest Ride opens, and will likely fall victim to the second weekend of Furious 7.

# Title Apr 3 - 5 Mar 27 - 29 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Furious 7 $ 147,187,040 4,004 1 $ 36,760 $ 147,187,040 Universal
2 Home 27,011,303 52,107,731 -48.2 3,801 2 7,106 95,241,397 Fox
3 Get Hard 13,128,219 33,803,253 -61.2 3,212 2 4,087 57,215,636 Warner Bros.
4 Cinderella 10,178,750 17,043,491 -40.3 3,404 4 2,990 167,139,868 Disney
5 The Divergent Series: Insurgent 10,126,715 21,535,277 -53.0 3,442 3 2,942 103,511,529 Lionsgate
6 It Follows 2,513,459 3,811,052 -34.0 1,655 4 1,519 8,589,144 Radius
7 Woman in Gold 2,091,551 258 1 8,107 2,187,302 Weinstein Co.
8 Kingsman: The Secret Service 1,808,652 2,965,310 -39.0 1,327 8 1,363 122,366,182 Fox
9 Do You Believe? 1,544,423 2,307,477 -33.1 1,218 3 1,268 9,855,236 Pure Flix
10 Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 1,079,747 2,117,414 -49.0 1,060 5 1,019 30,140,329 Fox Searchlight
11 Run All Night 635,146 2,178,380 -70.8 1,015 4 626 25,298,235 Warner Bros.
12 American Sniper 628,060 874,053 -28.1 623 15 1,008 346,386,489 Warner Bros.
13 McFarland, USA 618,631 1,122,021 -44.9 703 7 880 41,774,129 Disney
14 While We're Young 483,688 227,688 112.4 34 2 14,226 789,041 A24
15 Focus 448,150 1,292,230 -65.3 625 6 717 52,824,772 Warner Bros.
16 The Gunman 385,194 2,035,989 -81.1 1,027 3 375 10,089,669 Open Road
17 Danny Collins 347,815 219,237 58.6 83 3 4,191 735,393 Bleecker St.
18 Detective Byomkesh Bakshy 338,637 82 1 4,130 338,637 Yash Raj
19 The SpongeBob Movie 253,506 613,635 -58.7 482 9 526 160,839,111 Paramount
20 Fifty Shades of Grey 245,890 556,510 -55.8 381 8 645 165,463,125 Universal
Top 5 $ 207,632,027 $ 128,300,804 61.8
Top 10 216,669,859 139,905,374 54.9
Top 20 221,054,576 146,712,784 50.7
Top 20 vs. 2014 221,054,576 163,236,700 35.4

Last Updated: April 5, 2015 at 4:20PM ET

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