NBCUniversal Executives - Season 2015Furious 7 has become Universal’s first billion-dollar baby, and the entertainment company’s head honcho took to the web today to talk about what is a notable moment for the 103-year-old studio. “Today marks a significant milestone in our history,” NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer wrote in a blog post as the setua-sequel raced past that global-boxoffice milestone in just its 17th day in release. The actioner starring Vin Diesel and the late Paul Walker has banked an estimated $265.3M domestically and is expected to get the checkered flag again this weekend both at hone and overseas, making it three consecutive winning frames.

Early Friday matinee estimates show that Furious 7 is on track to make $8M-$8.5M today for a three-day estimate of between $25 million and $26 million. It still is commanding the Imax screens in its third weekend. The film took in about $2.9M last night on 4,022 total runs. The actioner, which stopped production after Walker died in a November 2013 car crash, initially was supposed to bow last summer, but that date had to be overhauled. With the extra time, Universal was able to pick the perfect distribution date and implement a strong marketing campaign with two of the most social powerhouses on the Internet: Diesel and Dwayne Johnson.

Picking the April 3, 2015, distribution date meant the was (and is) able to enjoy four weeks of play both on Imax and in the nation’s theaters until May 1, when Marvel/Disney releases mega-sequel Avengers: Age Of Ultron.

Furious 7 is the first film since last year’s Transformers: Age Of Extinction to top $1 billion worldwide and already is No. 20 on the all-time list. But it’s no lock to finish even in the top three for 2015, with competition waiting in the wings from the likes of the Avengers sequel, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, 007’s Spectre, the final Hunger Games pic, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and other tentpoles.

Here’s the full text of Meyer’s post at NBCUniversal.com:

Today Marks a Significant Milestone in Our History

Today FURIOUS 7 will reach $1 billion in worldwide box office grosses.  This is the first time in Universal’s 103-year history that we have had a film achieve this level of success in its first run.  It will certainly exceed this number as well as have the distinction of being the quickest of any film to reach this milestone in just 17 days.

At Universal we have had franchises with strong results at the box office, including JURASSIC PARK, DESPICABLE ME and the BOURNE series, and although we take great pride in these accomplishments, what distinguishes FAST & FURIOUS is that it is an original live action concept with an entirely diverse cast.  It is the only franchise of its kind to reach a total of MORE THAN $3.39 billion and counting.

On behalf of all of us, I am incredibly proud of the motion picture team at Universal, the cast and filmmakers of the FAST & FURIOUS for all they have done to take our original idea and evolve it into a huge, global, blockbuster franchise.  When our friend and colleague Paul Walker tragically passed away in the middle of production, our team, led by Jeff Shell and Donna Langley, and the filmmakers along with the cast and crew did what they do best:  They focused on family first; then talked to the fans; then got to work on making a great film that we can all be proud of.  We were all saddened and honored to be a part of Paul’s final career performance and to celebrate his defining role in our lives.