With $67.3 million (including $15.8 million from Thursday shows) yesterday, “Furious 7″ scored the best ever opening number for any film earlier in the year than May (price increase unadjusted $36,000 better than the first “Hunger Games” in March, 2012). More significantly, as the initial release of the now expanded “summer” season, as a portend of a tent pole franchise heavy month ahead, it’s a bigger deal than just the number overall. Why? It shows that for the right long-term project when things come together a sensational, near-record number can result. And perhaps more importantly, it can come from a male, younger-oriented film at a time when that increasingly fickle demographic has been decreasing.
Two numbers show its strength. Among previous “Fast and Furious” entries, the best previous number was “Fast and Furious 6” at $38.7 million on a pre-Memorial Day Friday in 2013. And the very successful “Captain America: Winter Soldier” the same Friday last year opened to $36.9 million (although not a holiday), itself at the time an April record. So this number blows both of them away.
The Top Ten total came in just under $95 million, mostly fueled by “Furious.” This compares to the $55 million for the “Captain America” Friday last year or the $41 million the following Good Friday, so it’s a massive uptick. What remains to be seen is how much of this was front-loaded (aided by the holiday and the multiple screen and maximum seating availability at most theaters) and whether it bests “Hunger Games” and its $152 million as best pre-May opening weekend.
The rest of the Top Ten also benefited from the holiday, particularly the younger-oriented offerings. Coming in second was “Home” (20th Century Fox) at $11.3 million, which looks particularly good since “Rio 2″‘s Good Friday opening day last year was $12 million. Also showing strength is “Cinderella” (Buena Vista), which placed fourth at $4.1 million, down only $700,000 from last Friday. In between is “Get Hard” (Universal) in third with $5 million, $8 million less than its opening day.
“Woman in Gold” provided some good news for the Weinstein Company. Opening in only 258 theaters and overcoming mostly bad reviews (apart from praise for Helen Mirren), it placed eighth with $613,000 as the only other new release in the Top Ten.
The rest of the slots, all holdovers, include “Insurgent” (Lionsgate) in fifth, $4 million. All the rest took in less than $1 million. In sixth “It Follows” (Radius/TWC) grossed $917,000, down about $500,000 despite adding 437 theaters (now 1,655). Seventh was long-running “Kingman: The Secret Service” (20th Century Fox), ninth faith-based “Do You Believe” (PureFlix) with $535,000, and tenth “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” (Fox Searchlight) with $355,000.