Furious 7 took the 14-year-old Fast franchise to the next level this weekend with a stunning $143.6 million debut.
That opening ranks ninth all-time behind The Avengers, Iron Man 3, the final Harry Potter, two Dark Knight movies, two Hunger Games and Spider-Man 3.
The movie also opened to an incredible $240 million overseas; that’s without any help from China, Japan and Russia, where it will open in the next few weeks. So far, Furious 7 has earned $384 million worldwide, and is very likely on track to earn over $1 billion by the end of its run.
At the domestic box office, Furious 7’s $143.6 million debut is 51 percent higher than Captain America: The Winter Soldier’s $95 million, which was the previous April record holder. This is also the biggest debut in the franchise thus far, up a whopping 47 percent over Fast & Furious 6. Furious 7 earned $14 million on IMAX screens alone, which ranks second all-time for a 2D-only movie behind The Dark Knight Rises.
Furious 7’s phenomenal success can be attributed to a few factors. Coming off Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6, the franchise clearly had a ton of momentum; instead of looking like a step backward, Furious 7 appeared to be the biggest installment yet. Universal also did a nice job pushing the “One Last Ride” tagline, which gave the sense that this may be the last opportunity to see a Fast & Furious movie (which almost certainly isn’t the case, but still). It’s also likely that the movie got a bump from fans eager to see Paul Walker’s final on-screen performance, as he tragically passed away during production in late 2013.
The movie’s audience was split evenly between men (51 percent) and women, and skewed a bit older (56 percent over the age of 25). According to Universal’s exit polls, Hispanic moviegoers made up a whopping 37 percent of the audience this weekend.