Entertainment

The Fate of the Furious breaks global box office record


LOS ANGELES — Universal Pictuire’s “The Fate of the Furious” has raced to the top of the box office chart — breaking an international record in the process.

The eighth installment of the high-octane action series starring Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriquez and Jason Statham took  estimated $532.5m (£424.7m) globally over Easter weekend and $98.8 million in North America, according to industry monitor Exhibitor relations.

The figure makes it the strongest worldwide debut ever — marginally overtaking the $529m (£421.8m) taken by Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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It was a sharp drop from the $147.2 million debut by “Furious 7” in 2015 but strong performance overseas meant it was able to smash the “Jurassic World” record international opening of $316.7, with a massive $432.3 million from 63 international markets.

That included $190 million in China — the biggest ever debut for any film in the world’s second largest economy — bringing its total global opening to $532 million and breaking the previous record of $529 million held by “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (2015).

“It’s a sign that a franchise built around muscle cars and odes to the importance of family is growing more global in scope,” wrote Brett Lang, senior film and media editor for trade magazine Variety in an online commentary.

“If it wants to continue to expand its audience as it inevitably ticks through future sequels, it will need to keep building a fan base in places like China.”

“The Fast and Furious” franchise, which added Charlize Theron for the latest installment, has now amassed $4.4 billion worldwide over its eight movies.

Elsewhere in the domestic top five, “The Boss Baby” beat Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” to the runner-up spot with $16 million, bringing its three-week total to $116.8 million. Alec Baldwin voices the chief baby in the DreamWorks production, distributed by Fox.

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“Beauty” earned another $13.7 million to bring its five-week domestic take to $454.7 million but, as with “The Fate of the Furious,” the Disney fairytale starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens is doing its biggest business abroad.

A $22 million take from foreign markets brought its global total of just over $1 billion, making it the 22nd largest worldwide release of all time.

Fourth place went to Sony’s “Smurfs: The Lost Village” which added just $6.7 million to its disappointing $13.2 million opening weekend, described by the Hollywood Reporter as “one of the worst starts in recent memory for an animated offering from a major Hollywood studio.”

“Going in Style,” a Warner Bros comedy starring Morgan Freeman, Alan Arkin and Michael Caine as an octogenarian bank robbers, placed fifth in its second weekend, taking in $6.3 million for a domestic total of $23.3 million, which almost covers its production budget.

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