Furious 7 turbo-charged theaters last night — including nearly all 365 Imax screens — to push the total prize money for Universal Pictures to $15.8M at 3,069 theaters. It races into theaters today as both the widest Imax and Universal studio release in history. Of that total, $2.2M was from Imax, making it the third-highest haul in Imax history behind only 2013’s Iron Man 3 (which had a $174M opening) and 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises ($160M). An impressive feat for a 2D movie.
Furious 7 is in a league of its own as other competing studios didn’t even consider putting a car in the race this weekend. The $15.8M in previews could push the film to $120M-$130M, and some are thinking higher. Today and tonight are expected to be massive because 80% of kids are out of school and F7 has great momentum behind it. This is a kind of movie that has a lot of goodwill, so the monster mash-up could play well through Sunday.
Having opened Wednesday internationally, the street racing romp starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez and Jason Statham easily will push past $100M globally. The film, according to RelishMix, also surpassed The Hunger Games to become the most social movie franchise in the history of social media; YouTube views grew by 19M in the past 24 hours since the premiere.
The Thursday preview of Furious 7 also blew the doors off of its best comparable film, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which grossed $10.2M in previews on April 4 last year, $1.2M of which was from 344 Imax screens. The Disney/Marvel superhero entry went on to a three-day weekend gross of $95M. However, Winter Soldier bowed an hour later (at 8 PM). The latest in the Universal franchise opened at 7 PM on Thursday. For the weekend, Furious 7 opens on 365 Imax screens and in 4,003 theaters. To put that in perspective, Marvel’s The Avengers had 4,349 screens (and a $207M opening) in 2012.
Fast & Furious 6 opened at 10 PM Thursday before the high-traffic Memorial Day weekend in 2013 and had no benefit of Imax screens nor as wide a field as Star Trek: Into Darkness, which bowed only a week ahead of it. F6 also faced off with The Hangover Part III and Epic. Still, it ended up with $238.7M domestically and a worldwide gross of $787.7M. F6 grossed $6.5 million at 2,409 showings in its Thursday preview.
The last time a Furious franchise film bowed in April was in 2011, when Fast Five grossed $86.1M.
The social media monster continues to pile on to its Facebook combined reach of 423M, Facebook video views at 159M, Twitter reach of 30M, YouTube subscribers of 2M and YouTube views at 352M. In fact, since F6, Furious 7 has tripled across FB, doubled across Twitter and quadrupled on YouTube, according to RelishMix.
Social stars are without a doubt the key drivers of this muscle movie. Diesel is FB’s No. 1 actor with 87M fans and has added more than 51M fans since F6. Add Jason Statham to the mix in this installment with his 47M FB and Dwayne Johnson’s 45M FB and 8.3M TW. You can see why this film has sped past all previous Furious pics.
F7 also already took international markets by storm, outpacing Fast & Furious 6 by 60%. The current international take is $16.9M. It was No. 1 in every territory and scored the highest opening day for the series internationally. Helping to boost this super-charged debut is the benefit more than 800 Imax theaters, with about 445 of those big screens playing internationally. Imax says F7 is its widest global day-and-date release ever.