Furious 7 opened in box offices this weekend with a roar of its franchise engines, taking in $15.8 million on Thursday night alone. Adding in the $67.3 million the movie raked in on Friday from 4,004 theaters which showed the the street-racing action flick, it is expected to leave the box office in the dust, pulling in $100 million at the end of the weekend. Reviews of the movie have been favorable, and fans of franchise star Paul Walker, who died during filming, have been left in tears after seeing the movie’s tribute to the fallen star.
As the weekend progresses, the estimated gross of the Universal Pictures movie, which stars Vin Diesel, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Jason Statham, continues to rise. Although just one week ago, the newest installment of The Fast and the Furious franchise was estimated to bring in $115 million to $125 million, as of Saturday morning, analysts were predicting a weekend haul of $150 million for Furious 7. The film is said to have cost $190 million to produce.
Friday’s take puts Furious 7 in the ninth position on a list of the biggest-ever Friday movie openings. Other movies on that list are 2013’s Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which made $70.9 million on its first Friday in release, and Iron Man 3, also released in 2013, which made $68.8 million on its opening Friday.
Although the death of Walker, who played Brian O’Connor in the films, delayed the release of Furious 7, originally scheduled to open last summer, fans of the The Fast and the Furious movies flocked to Furious 7 to see how the movie would deal with the death of Walker, who was killed in a fiery car crash during shooting.
Reports from theaters are that fans of Walker were not disappointed in the way in which the franchise said goodbye. The director of Furious 7, James Wan, along with the cast of the movie, are said to have worked hard to include Walker in the movie, and included a tribute to the actor which left fans in tears at the end of the film. According to the India Times, Walker was digitally recreated by WETA Digital, the Peter Jackson company who also created The Lord of the Rings character, Gollum, and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes’ Caesar. In addition, Walker’s own brothers, Cody and Caled, were used as body doubles. Along with lighting and camera angles, the stand-ins seem identical to Walker.
Actress Jordana Brewster, who has appeared in five of the Furious movies, revisited her role as Walker’s wife, Mia Toretto, in Furious 7. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Brewster said that an eighth Fast and Furious movie will only be made if the franchise’s fans want one. Brewster, 34, said that after Walker’s death, the cast took a long break and none of the actors knew if the film would even be completed. She described the late Walker as being a grounding influence on the cast with his easygoing nature.
The second highest-grossing movie on Friday was the Dreamworks animated film for children, Home, which made $11.4 million, bringing the total gross of the 20th Century Fox-distributed movie to $79.5 million. Movies which made between $4 million and $5 million Friday were Disney’s live-action fairy tale, Cinderella, Warner Bros.’ Get Hard, a comedy starring Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart, and Liongate’s The Divergent Series: Insurgent – Shatter Reality. Although Furious 7’s gripping action and fast cars may leave the audience breathless and other movies now playing in the dust, the final tribute to Walker is said to be leaving many a fan in tears.
By Jennifer Pfalz
Image by Tim Evanson – Flickr License