Box Office Preview: ‘Furious 7’ Riding The Wave, ‘Longest Ride’ In Rearview Mirror

We will see last weekend’s motorhead mash-up Furious 7 playing in another wide-open weekend. However, with fewer kids in the marketplace and no holiday jump, we could see a significant drop in its second-weekend numbers — as much as 60% as most tentpoles do, though there are factors that could make this one a bit different (see below). Universal Pictures will enjoy another watershed moment this week with F7 as it should hit $200M on Friday domestically.

It is also well on its way to $500M worldwide in short order and will climb from there. It hasn’t even opened in China or Russia or Japan yet; it opens Thursday in Russia and Sunday in China. It is also playing exclusively in 3D in Japan on Imax starting April 17. More on F7 below, but first let’s look at the newbie.

There is only one wide opener this weekend — Nicholas Sparks’ The Longest Ride, which stars Scott Eastwood (yes, son of) and Britt Robertson. This Fox picture is skewing heavily female, however, this story set in the professional bull riding world world doesn’t scream female skew in its marketing so the audience does have a chance of being a bit more mixed … or confused.

Although Eastwood is in the picture, he is not yet a well-known name. Previous Sparks films have starred Ryan Gosling, Channing Tatum, Zach Efron, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Duhamel and James Marsden. Eastwood is not yet in the ranks of Gosling, Tatum or Efron — they probably got this production going fairly cheaply — so they are really looking for Sparks’ name to help carry this film. This is the first film to be carried by Eastwood although he has appeared in other casts, including Fury, Gran T0rino and Flags of Our Fathers, the latter two directed by his famous father. Will it launch him as a leading man? Yet to be seen. This is getting not so great reviews.

The comp for this romancer looks closer to Best Of Me which opened to $10M and ended up around $26M. With these kinds of films, they tend to make most of their money domestically as foreign audiences just don’t cling to these and never really have. Could it reach higher than $10M this weekend? Yes, it’s possible to get to $12M-$13M and some think higher to $18M, but that seems like a longshot. It is said to be around $34M for its total production budget. It opens Thursday night at 8 PM in previews. It will then go wide to 3,365 locations.

Which brings us back to F7. Will it hold better than a 60% drop? As we’ve said, most tentpoles drop significantly in their second weekends. F7 garnered an A, which usually means a better multiple. Here’s the thing with F7‘s second weekend: there were 80% of kids in the marketplace last weekend and on Friday many businesses were closed due to Good Friday. This weekend, only 8% of kids are in the marketplace and businesses are open. So that accounts for roughly 10% of the business right there. Also, there is no NCAA Final Four this weekend as there was last Saturday.

So if it drops, say 60%, you must take the marketplace into account. Also a big difference is that F7 will be holding onto all of its Imax screens this weekend and virtually all of the premium large-format (PLF) screens as well. So that means it plans to enjoy another weekend of 365 Imax screens and 407 PLF screens. The weekday business has been extremely strong, given that the NCAA championship game was on Monday night. It will also be adding some runs to bring it up from 4,004 theaters to 4,020 locales.

Interestingly, the audience for F7 was said to be driven strongly by Hispanics. Exit polls showed that the film played equally well for males and females, with a demo make-up of 44% under age 25. It was driven by Hispanics, who was said to have comprised 37% of attendees (although some said it was closer to 20%), with 25% Caucasian and 24% African American. It also played extremely well in big cities, but also in the southwestern part of the U.S.

Also, we could see a $217M overall weekend drop to a $100M+ overall weekend … so we’ll be watching weekend-to-weekend percentage declines on that as well.

In addition, The Weinstein Company’s Woman In Gold, which opened last weekend, expands to more than 1,000 theaters this weekend. The Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds drama will count 1,200 venues.

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