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‘The Fate of the Furious’ Breaks ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ International Box Office Records — But Not So At Home

It's an extraordinary achievement for the Universal franchise, but the domestic results fall considerably short of "The Fast and Furious 7."

Charlize Theron in the Fate of the Furious

Charlize Theron in “The Fate of the Furious”

Universal Pictures

Give credit where it’s due: “The Fate of the Furious” had the best overseas opening for any film, ever — just above “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and far above “Jurassic World.” Since its overseas opening last Wednesday, it’s earned around $430 million. That’s great for Universal, and any weekend with a $100 million opening is a good thing. But beneath the headlines are some curious results that aren’t 100 percent positive.

The Top Ten

1. The Fate of the Furious (Universal) NEW – Cinemascore: A; Metacritic: 56; Est. budget: $250 million

$100,182,000 in 4,310 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $23,244; Cumulative: $100,182,000

2. The Boss Baby (20th Century Fox) Week 3 – Last weekend #1

$15,540,000 (-41%) in 3,743 theaters (-86); PTA: $4,152; Cumulative: $116,324,000

3. Beauty and the Beast (Disney) Week 5 – Last weekend #2

$13,634,000 (-42%) in 3,592 theaters (-377); PTA: $4,152; Cumulative: $454,650,000

4. Smurfs: The Lost Village (Sony) Week 2 – Last weekend #3

$6,500,000 (-51%) in 3,610 theaters (no change); PTA: $1,801; Cumulative: $24,728,000

5. Going in Style (Warner Bros.) Week 2 – Last weekend #4

$6,350,000 (-47%) in 3,076 theaters (+15); PTA: $2,064; Cumulative: $23,376,000

6. Gifted (Fox Searchlight) Week 2 – Last weekend #16

$3,000,000 (+572%) in 1,146 theaters (+1,090); PTA: $2,618; Cumulative: $4,370,000

7. Get Out (Universal) Week 8 – Last weekend #8

$2,918,000 (-28%) in 1,424 theaters (-150); PTA: $2,049; Cumulative: $167,548,000

8. Power Rangers (Lionsgate) Week 4 – Last weekend #6

$2,850,000 (-54%) in 2,171 theaters (-807); PTA: $1,313; Cumulative: $80,564,000

9. The Case for Christ (Pure Flix) Week 2 – Last weekend #10

$2,720,000 (-31%) in 1,386 theaters (+212); PTA: $1,962; Cumulative: $8,448,000

10. Kong: Skull Island (Warner Bros.) Week 6 – Last weekend #7

$2,670,000 (-52%) in 2,018 theaters (-735); PTA: $1,323; Cumulative: $161,246,000

The Takeaways

Statham The Rock Fate of the Furious

“The Fate of the Furious”

Yes, “Fate of the Furious” Is Impressive. But.

In adjusted gross, “The Fast and the Furious 7” in 2015 opened to $148 million domestic. “Fate” opened considerably lower, down 31 percent. (The final appearance from Paul Walker likely made a bigger difference among American fans than elsewhere.) “Fate” is also is about the same as “Fast & Furious 6” in 2013, though that had the benefit of the Memorial Day weekend.

This weekend’s top 10 will gross $8 million less than a year ago, when “The Jungle Book” opened to $103 million and was not the sole new wide release. And it’s $86 million less than the earlier Easter weekend last year, when “Batman v Superman” opened to $166 million. Why the drop? The lower number for “Furious” is a key reason, but its presence scared other distributors away from the date. Easter weekend often is prime for new releases. Last year saw “Barbershop: The Next Cut” open to $20 million, and the lower-grossing “Criminal” added $6 million more to the total.

This ends a string of weekends that mostly improved on the preceding year. It’s not a harbinger or game changer; “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” (Disney) is ahead, and will be an important gauge.

The surprise in the Top Ten was Fox Searchlight’s “Gifted,” which in 1,146 theaters grossed $3 million and placed sixth. It is among other recent limited and older audience films led by “The Zookeeper’s Wife” that are finding positive reception with wider ticket buyers.

Of minor note: Open Road opened the Canadian/Korean animated film “Spark: A Space Tail” in only 365 theaters, where it grossed $112,000 — the same as “The Lost City of Z” (Bleecker Street) managed in five theaters in its best-of-the-weekend new limited openers.

Some Takeaways on “The Fate of the Furious”

“Fate” benefited from an all-cylinders-blasting campaign that built on its growing international appeal, even if the emphasis aimed outside North America.

— The U.S./Canada gross adjusted is the third best in the franchise (below the last two); the rest of the world is seeing franchise record-level results.

— U.S./Canada is only 19 percent of the world, and “Furious 7” saw them at 23 percent of the final result. This one will be close, but less.

— U.S./Canada is down 32 percent from “Furious 7.” It was the biggest in the franchise in China (at $190 million, the best-ever weekend opening for a Western film), South Korea, and the U.K..

— All international-opening comparisons are a bit apples and oranges, since China did not open until more than a week after most of the world.

— The domestic performance is tracking similar to “Furious 7”: Both titles dropped 31 percent their first Saturday. That suggests a full-run domestic multiple of 2.4, similar to the last two entries. That could mean $240 million of what looks like a possible $1.2 billion worldwide.

— “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was driven by U.S./Canada numbers (45 percent of worldwide), while “Furious 7” saw less than a quarter of total in domestic returns. “Furious 7” actually outgrossed “Force” outside the U.S./Canada.

— Per Universal’s audience surveys, only 41 percent on the U.S./Canada audience was white. 26 percent was Latino, 19 percent African-American. The latter two demographics have not been as strongly represented in most of this year’s successes. But the relative dearth of white attendees — who likely consistent with overall results were younger and male, a consistently declining group of ticket buyers — is noticeable and cause for concern.

“Beauty and the Beast”

“The Boss Baby” and “Beauty and the Beast” Still Thrive

Of note is that “Baby” continues to best “Beauty,” as they both continue to show strength. Dreamworks’ latest entry looks on track to hit $150 million in domestic take, which would put it in a range of their recent films. With its more adult appeal and head to head competition with “Beauty” it’s a credible performance, although not one that will stand out at the top of the year’s animated hits.

“Beauty” looks still to top out around $500 million domestic. It is approaching the highest levels of live-action fantasy films — only “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” looks to better it among all-time similar films in adjusted figures. That will put it ahead of the other two in that franchise and all the “Harry Potter” films. Far behind are Disney’s own recent hits “The Jungle Book” and “Alice in Wonderland.”

At a half billion domestic, it would end up as the fifth biggest musical ever, behind only “The Sound of Music,” “Mary Poppins,” “Grease,” and “My Fair Lady,” all from decades ago. It will soon best “West Side Story.” Worldwide, it could end up second only to “The Sound of Music” in success as it reaches close to $1.2 million.

Paramount Pictures

Other Holdovers

Sony didn’t position “Smurfs: A Lost Village” a week before Easter to see it drop 51 percent its second weekend, even more with its disappointing opening. Overseas is doing better ($90 million so far compared $25 million domestic).

“Going in Style” after showing a little strength during weekdays dropped 47 percent, not awful but also not likely enough to keep this older-skewing film healthy versus a range of alternative entries.

Worst of all is “The Ghost in the Shell” (Paramount), falling out of the top 10 in its third weekend with a 67 percent drop. “Power Rangers” is doing better, but its 54 percent drop guarantees this expensive production won’t reach $100 million domestic, where so far it is outpacing overseas.

“The Case for Christ” (Pure Flix) added theaters, but will fall 31 percent despite its holiday-weekend placement. The glory days of faith-based films like “God’s Not Dead” might be behind us.

“Get Out” is impervious to losing dates and to competition: It fell a puny 28 percent. It looks now to reach $180 million.

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