Weekend Box Office April 14-16: 'Furious 8' Breaks a World Record and Director F. Gary Gray Becomes the Man to Beat

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April 20th 2017

"The Fate of the Furious" -  UNIVERSAL "The Fate of the Furious"

Just call me an old fogy. I just don't understand these "Fast and Furious" films. I liked them at first (well, maybe not the John Singleton one as much as) but they were fun. No one would claim that they're classics (the ghost of Orson Welles can rest easy), but they sure were entertaining, and the car chase sequences were well done. (The opening car race sequence in "Tokyo Drift" set in a housing development under construction was a real standout in my opinion.)

But along the way they gotten more ridiculous and cartoonish. Out went any semblance of reality, and in came the CGI with cars flying thousands of feet in the air, through high rise buildings or, in the latest one - "The Fate of the Furious" - outrunning a Russian submarine in the Arctic. Like seriously?

OK, I sort of get it. It's meant to be stupid and ridiculous. But just because it's stupid and over the top does not mean that it has to be dumb. Or maybe what defines an action film today is not what it used to be anymore, when they uses real effects, real stunt people and actually blowing up stuff for real. I can't get into most action sequences in movies today because so much of it is created by computers. Or maybe it's these kids today. I don't get them (Hey you kids get off my lawn!!). Back in my day we used feathered quill pens and paper to write letters, not this smartphone things turning everyone into walking zombies. Doe anyone look anybody in the eye anymore?

Now that I'm finished ranting, of course "The Fast and the Furious" was the No. 1 film this weekend with $100.2 million, which is by any means extraordinary. But it is actually less than the previous F&F movie, "Furious 7", which opened with $147 million. But it's still more than 2013's "Fast & Furious 6" which opened with $97 million. But who's going to complain about a film grossing over $100 million over a weekend?

And in terms of global box office, "Furious 8" has broken the all-time record for the highest opening of any film worldwide, with $532 million. This is not surprising, since the film also had the highest advance ticket pre-sales in China for any film ever, Hollywood or Chinese. And that global box office tally beats the previous record holder - "Star Wars The Force Awakens" - which opened with $529 worldwide.

But "Furious 8" also makes another kind of history as director F. Gary Gray becomes the black director with the highest worldwide box office grossing film ever! And it doesn't stop there. With that $532 million worldwide weekend opening for "Fate", Gray is now the most successful black director to date, with the highest worldwide box office totals (counting all his films), just edging out Tim Story.

Since 2005, Story's films have grossed $1.21 billion worldwide, but Gray's films, since his first - 1995's "Friday" - have grossed $1.24 billion; and as "Fate's" numbers continue to grow over the next several weeks/months that the film is in theaters round the world, that Gray's totals will get even bigger.

As for the rest of the weekend, Fox's "The Boss Baby" comes in a very distant second place with $15 million, for $116 million total domestic; and Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" comes in third (I has already passed the $1 billion earnings mark worldwide).

Meanwhile, "Kong Skull Island" has been a huge hit for Universal, making some $161 million domestically, and has grossed almost $553 million worldwide. And "Get Out" continues to add to its total, and has yet to break into some major foreign territories; but it's proven to be a huge hit in the UK, and it has even has grossed almost five times more in the United Arab Emirates than it has in South Africa. Who can explain that? The film has grossed $183.5 million worldwide to date, easily heading for at least $200 million globally.

The weekend's top 12 earners follow below:

1) The Fate of the Furious Uni. $100,181,640
2) The Boss Baby Fox $15,540,000 Total: $116,323,907
3) Beauty and the Beast BV $13,634,000 Total: $454,649,751
4) Smurfs: The Lost Village Sony $6,500,000 Total: $24,728,326
5) Going in Style WB (NL) $6,350,000 Total: $23,376,352
6) Gifted FoxS $3,000,000 Total: $4,369,910
7) Get Out Uni. $2,917,865 Total: $167,547,880
8) Power Rangers LGF $2,850,000 Total: $80,563,748
9) The Case for Christ PFR $2,720,000 Total: $8,447,704
10) Kong: Skull Island WB $2,670,000 Total: $161,246,181
11) Ghost in the Shell Par. $2,400,000 Total: $37,023,283
12) The Zookeeper's Wife Focus $2,064,945 Total: $10,667,900

by Sergio Mims on April 20th 2017
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