With an estimated $143.6 million debut in the U.S. and $384 million worldwide, Furious 7 shatters all box office records for the 14-year-old franchise — thanks in part to its massive popularity with Latino audiences.
Paul Walker and Vin Diesel in Furious 7
Scott Garfield / Universal Pictures
Furious 7 opened this weekend with an estimated $143.6 million in the U.S., which is already a gargantuan achievement for the franchise. Not only does that shatter the record for the best April debut ever, besting Captain America: The Winter Soldier's $95 million opening, but it zooms past all of the domestic opening weekends for the entire 2014 calendar year.
The real news, however, is that Furious 7 — or Furious Seven, as it's officially titled at the outset of the film, because why not — is a true global powerhouse. The movie pulled in a whopping $240.4 million internationally, for an estimated worldwide total of $384 million. Only three other movies have made more in their opening weekends globally — the sixth and eighth Harry Potter movies and The Avengers.
Overall, Furious 7 surpassed the global debut of Fast & Furious 6 (or just Furious 6, as it is officially titled at the outset of that film) by 48%. Even when considering this 14-year-old franchise's explosive box office growth — both domestically and overseas — Furious 7 stands apart as a phenomenon.
Adam B. Vary for BuzzFeed / Via boxofficemojo.com
One of the major factors driving Furious 7's success is, of course, the fact that it is the late Paul Walker's final appearance in the franchise. Walker's death in an unrelated car accident halfway through filming on Furious 7 was itself international news, forcing Universal Pictures to suspend production for four months as director James Wan, screenwriter Chris Morgan, and the filmmaking team reshaped the film's plot to both accommodate the footage they had of Walker and provide his character Brian O'Connor with a proper send-off. Audiences have clearly responded to their efforts, giving the film an “A” grade from the polling firm CinemaScore (not to mention expressing their emotional reactions to the film on social media).
Another significant element to Furious 7's historic success is the film's profound popularity with Latino audiences, both in the U.S. and abroad. According to exit poll data, Latino moviegoers comprised 37% of the movie's domestic audience — 25% of moviegoers were white, 24% were black, 10% were Asian, and 4% were designated as “other.” And Furious 7 enjoyed the biggest opening weekend of all time for any film in several Latin American countries, including Mexico (with $20.8 million), Brazil ($10.9 million), and Argentina ($9 million), as well as Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.