Just two weeks short of its Easter weekend release, many industry estimates are projecting Universal’s Furious 7 with a $115M opening. That figure would crown the film the largest April opener ever, easily topping last year’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($95M). It would also be the third-largest pre-summer bow ever behind 2012’s The Hunger Games ($152.5M) and 2010’s Alice In Wonderland ($116.1M).
Per tracking last Friday, Furious 7’s total awareness was high among total audiences with 91%. Breaking down total awareness, men under 25 charted 94% as the seventhquel’s biggest fans, followed by older men (25+) at 93%, and women under and over 25 with 89%. Unaided awareness — which polls people on the street to name a movie, any movie they’ll see in the upcoming weekend — is high at 14% for total audiences and 16% men under 25. Asserts one major studio distribution chief, “Those are just amazing numbers.”
In regards to advance ticket sales, Furious 7 is outselling Fast & Furious 6 at the same point in its sales cycle on Fandango.
To date, the Fast & Furious franchise has racked up $2.4B for Universal worldwide through previous chapter Fast & Furious 6, which opened over the 2013 Memorial Day frame, accumulating $238.7M stateside and $788.7M around the globe.
Worst-case scenario in regards to Furious 7‘s opening, one insider said, is that it opens to Captain America 2‘s numbers. Further lubing Furious 7 at the B.O.: It’s Easter weekend, and audiences have proven to show up during the holiday frame (read 2010’s Clash Of The Titans, which bowed to $61.2M).
Not only has tracking prompted rival distributors to project a $115M weekend for Furious 7, but the film’s social-media outreach has been through the roof. RelishMix cites the Fast & Furious brand as the most social in terms of reach and engagement combined. Furious 7‘s social-media universe stands at 865M followers/likes/subscribers, a total that outstrips online powers such as Fifty Shades Of Grey, The Hunger Games, The Avengers and The Hobbit.
RelishMix counts 299M Fast & Furious Facebook fans, 29M Twitter followers, 415M YouTube video views and 122M views on the official Facebook Page. Fast 6 opened with 101M Facebook fans, 17M Twitter followers, 112M YouTube video views and zero video views on FB. Since Fast 6, the franchise itself has grown fast and furious, tripling its reach on Facebook, doubling its Twitter following and quadrupling its YouTube following.
While some of today’s most popular stars – Shailene Woodley, Jennifer Lawrence and Kristen Stewart – opt out of a personal social media presence, Furious 7 has hugely benefited from a cast with a big online footprint. Many of those stars are regularly tubthumping the film on their personal handles. It’s important to note here that even though Woodley and most of the Insurgent cast aren’t big online, Lionsgate made the actors available online with other tactics such as Twitter chats and Google Hangouts through the film’s own social media channels.
Add in Diesel’s 2.7M Instagram followers to his FB and his total social reach is 89.4M. Since the last film, RelishMix said he’s added 50.8M FB fans. Last week, the actor was generating heat on the web with a video taken at a Furious 7 screening where he chokes up when talking about late Furious 7 actor Paul Walker, who died November 30, 2013 from an auto accident in Valencia, CA. Currently the video counts 1.3M views:
Statham’s presence primarily relies on FB. Johnson, by contrast, counts the second-biggest social media draw in the cast, spreading his appearance widely with a total of 63.1M across FB (46.7M), Instagram (8.1M) and Twitter (8.3M).
Walker’s official FB, Twitter and Instagram pages are still alive and operated, altogether tallying 43.15M, with 39.2M coming from FB alone.
Rapper-actor Ludacris is also prominent online, with 32.55M across the three social media platforms. He’s been busy promoting his album Ludaversal to his 10.2M Twitter fans. The album hits store shelves March 31, days before Furious 7. Today he showed off a cast photo from a Today interview at the Toretto house to his 3.3M Instagram fans.
Michelle Rodriguez‘s social-chatter universe totals 12.7M, comprised of 11M FB, just under 1M Instagram fans and 772K Twitter followers. She has been posting Furious 7 vids as well as new tracks from the film’s soundtrack. Jordana Brewster has 5.75M followers in her SMU with 4.89M on FB, 554K Twitter followers and 309K Instagram fans. She posted this #caryoga photo yesterday in conjunction with the film:
Furious 7 will be racing alone on its opening weekend April 3-5 as the sole wide release. Next weekend, Warner Bros. will open the R-rated comedy Get Hard, starring Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart in 3,150 venues. Currently, the bawdy comedy which played at SXSW is attracting a 78% total awareness among all crowds with a strong 84% in men over 25. At 3,600 engagements, DreamWorks Animation’s Home via Fox is also opening next weekend after a strong, but limited international debut this weekend. Home has a 64% total awareness, with its strongest demo being females over/under 25 at 70%.