The Fate of the Furious features Tyrese Gibson, Nathalie Emmanuel, Vin Diesel and Ludacris. (Reuters: Eduardo Munoz)
The eighth instalment in the Fast and the Furious franchise has seen the biggest worldwide debut of all time, besting both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Jurassic World to reel in $700 million on its opening weekend.
The Fate of the Furious led the Easter weekend charge, resulting in a record $US532.5 million ($701.5 million) worldwide debut.
The Force Awakes broke the record for biggest international weekend ever in December 2015, with $569.4 million (without China).
The previous record holder was Jurassic World with $417.2 million.
The Fate of the Furious met expectations, thanks to a particularly robust showing in 63 territories, including China which was the top grossing territory attracting a record $250.3 million.
“There is no market that hasn’t had a strong reception,” said Duncan Clark, Universal’s president of international distribution.
“Whatever culture, whatever language, whatever country, we seem to have found a home.”
The film amassed $23.4 million in Mexico and $22.4 million in the UK and Ireland.
An estimated $132 million of the global total comes from 4,310 North American theatres — a second best for the franchise and enough to easily top the domestic charts, but well below the $194 million opening of Furious 7 in 2015.
Furious 7 had a groundswell of additional interest due to the death of actor Paul Walker, who played cop turned street racer Brian O’Conner, a lead character in six of the films.
He died in a car crash while the film was still in production.
The Fate of the Furious has many of the returning stars like Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris, but has added some new elements behind the camera in director F. Gary Gray and in front of the camera with Charlize Theron.
The studio has not released an official production budget, but it is reported to be in the pricey $329 million range.
Fast 10 on the cards
The Fast and the Furious series is a global juggernaut for Universal Pictures, which plans two additional pictures.
With the addition of ‘Fast 8’, the franchise has earned an estimated $5.8 billion globally.
“It is a franchise that has adapted and changed over the years and is as relevant in 2017 as it was in 2001,” senior media analyst for comScore Paul Dergarabedian said.
“The Furious franchise perfectly represents what that global audience is all about.
“They’re poised perfectly for instalments 9 and 10 to do very well.
“It’s still firing on all cylinders.”