Universal reports that Furious 7 amassed $67.3 million on opening day Friday, including Thursday night's $15.8 million start. Not only does that surpass even optimistic expectations entering the weekend, it represents a stunning 74 percent increase from Fast & Furious 6's first day in May 2013, and very nearly matches the $71 million opening weekend of the 2009 fourth film, Fast & Furious. It also represents Universal's biggest opening day in studio history, while shattering Captain America: The Winter Soldier's previous $36.9 million April record for a first day (which itself took the crown from Fast Five). All-time, this stands as the tenth highest opening day in history -- leading such mega blockbusters as The Hunger Games ($67.26 million) and The Dark Knight ($67.17 million). For extra perspective, Furious 7 earned more in a single day than 2006's The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift did in its entire domestic run ($62.5 million).
Simply put, there's no shortage of commentary here. It had been widely expected that Furious 7 would easily set new April benchmarks as audiences looked to pay their own final tribute to Paul Walker following his tragic passing in November 2013 before filming on the movie had completed. Following extensive story adjustments, the team went back to work and effectively pitched this film as a would-be franchise finale. The mystique of fans seeing Paul Walker in his final role has become an unfortunate parallel to Heath Ledger's passing before The Dark Knight released in 2008, which fueled expectations that this weekend would push some new box office records.
Early word of mouth for Furious 7 is impressively strong as it boasts a 91 percent Rotten Tomatoes audience score as of this morning -- the highest any wide release has claimed in the last six months. Critics have also awarded it the best reviews of the franchise with an 81 percent score at the moment. The Fast franchise is typically known to be front-loaded, and Good Friday no doubt played a part in bringing out 7's massive audience, but all factors combined here indicate potential for strong holding power through April as it faces minimal competition before Avengers: Age of Ultron drops on May 1.
For the weekend, Universal is projecting Furious 7 will land an incredible $149.5 million opening weekend. While March Madness on Saturday and Easter Sunday could be minor speed bumps throughout the weekend, that figure would still blow past the previous Easter weekend record-holder (Clash of the Titans, $61.2 million) and even represent more in three days' time than the original The Fast and the Furious earned ($144.5 million) through its entire domestic run in 2001. With so many factors at play, it seems very likely this will be the first film in the franchise to ultimately reach $300 million or more before the end of its domestic turn in theaters.
Meanwhile, DreamWorks' Home held its own as families turned out on the holiday. The pic added $11.3 million yesterday, boosting its eight-day total to $79.5 million -- generally in line with where 2009's Monsters vs. Aliens stood through the same point. BoxOffice projects a $29.7 million sophomore frame.
In third place, Get Hard added $5.0 million, down 61 percent from its opening day last week. The Will Ferrell-Kevin Hart comedy has totaled $49.1 million thus far, 9.5 percent behind where Blades of Glory stood at the same point. BoxOffice projects a $13.9 million weekend.
Cinderella benefited from schools being out of session yesterday, taking in $4.07 million for a 15.5 percent drop from the previous Friday. Disney's latest fairy tell retelling now stands at $161.03 million domestically and looks headed for a weekend around $11.0 million. The film also overtook Fifty Shades of Grey on Friday as 2015's top domestic earner thus far.
In fourth, The Divergent Series: Insurgent claimed $4.0 million for a 42 percent week-to-week drop. The sequel's tally is now $97.4 million. BoxOffice projects a $10.0 million frame.
Filling out the top five, It Follows added $917K as it expanded to 1,655 theaters yesterday. With $6.99 million in the bank, we're projecting a $2.6 million weekend for the indie horror hit.