Furious 7 has become the fastest film ever to make a billion dollars worldwide at the box office. Fuelled, no doubt, by the tragic demise of Paul Walker, fans have been desperate to see their hero one last time on the big screen. Vin Diesel, The Rock and the Fast and Furious family are all very well, but the real life tragedy behind the film is likely to be the biggest reason that Furious 7 is burning such serious rubber at the box office since its release two weeks ago.
The billion dollar ranks are currently reserved for only 20 films including the likes of Avatar, Titanic, The Avengers and Iron Man 3. However, none of these managed to make it to a billion as quickly as Furious 7. Aided immeasurably by fans across the world, and notably a huge take in China, Furious 7 is likely to end up running rings around the likes of Frozen and maybe even Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 by the time it finishes blazing a trail through cinemas.
Has anything else stood a chance at the box office this week? Surprisingly, ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2’ has managed a decent opening despite reviews and ratings. The Kevin James starring comedy might not have impressed critics but the funny man still has his fans, even if he seems to have lost a few since the previous film was released. Social media horror story ‘Unfriended’ also did pretty well against the Furious 7 behemoth, managing to pull in around $16 million in its opening weekend. Considering this is not a sequel and has no big stars to pull in the crowds, it’s a good start, but unlikely to turn into a sleeper hit.
March was dominated by Cinderella which seemed to capitalise on not only audiences love of a good fairytale, but also having a Frozen short film screened before it. Impressively, it currently sits just underneath 50 Shade of Grey and Furious 7 as the number three film of the year so far. The performance of director Kenneth Branagh’s fairly traditional retelling of an old classic is somewhat surprising, but it’s likely to quickly lose its place near the top of 2015’s box office earners once the summer gets its big guns out.
Dreamworks’ animated Home, featuring the voices of pop sensation Rihanna and The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons also did big business, along with the Divergent sequel, Insurgent, but neither of these have managed to take Kingsman: The Secret Service or Taken 3 out of the top 5 of the year so far. In fact, Kingsman remains one of the most pleasant surprises of the year, taking massive earnings in China and South Korea, to make it a British blockbuster to rival Hollywood’s best.
However with Furious 7, the summer blockbuster season has only just begun. Tomorrowland, Jurassic World and the mighty all-conquering Minions are all on the way in the next few months so summer is set to be scorcher. Expect Avengers: Age of Ultron to smash the competition and most likely even make a serious dent in Furious 7’s box office figures later this month. Can the sequel manage to make more money than its predecessor? The Avengers sits at number three in the highest grossing films of all time, with a whopping $1.5 million gross. Don’t be surprised if Age of Ultron manages to knock it out of the top 3 and maybe even joins Titanic and Avatar in the exclusive $2 billion ranks.
About the Author
Peter Turner Senior Reporter & Critic for Tastic Film Magazine.