The seventh instalment to the “Fast and Furious” franchise, “Furious 7,” beat all analyst expectations opening weekend.
Over the Easter holiday, the film starring Vin Diesel, The Rock, and Paul Walker in his final performance, debuted to an estimated $US143.6 million.
Early estimates predicted the film would make $US115-$US120 million at most.
$US143.6 million is not only the biggest opening weekend for the “Fast and Furious” franchise, but it’s also now the highest-grossing debut for an April film, topping 2014’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” ($US95 million).
Say what you will about the “Fast and Furious” franchise, but they clearly know their audience.
Fans not only went out to see the entire cast reunite on screen, but also to see Walker’s final performance after he was killed in 2013.
Social media played a huge role in the film’s weekend surge. For over a year, the “Fast and Furious” social media pages (YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.) have all shared news, videos, and behind-the-scenes photos for the forthcoming seventh film and have taken looks back at the previous installments. Items shared across social media platforms feel organic and unique to that individual network. You rarely see a tweet go out that mirrors a Facebook posting or an Instgram image or video.
Since Walker’s death, the rest of the “Fast and Furious” cast also amassed big fan followings on social media. Vin Diesel quickly became the most-followed celebrity on Facebook for sharing messages in both English and Spanish. He publicly grieved the loss of, who he called, his brother, Pablo (Paul Walker), sharing images, video messages, and memories of the two together. Tyrese and Ludacris also gained large followings on Instagram.
The film itself had a little bit of something for everyone involved. It was a downright good time at theatres. Obviously, a lot of heart was placed into making the seventh film happen. Production shut down for a few months after Walker’s death. It wasn’t clear if the movie was even going to move forward.
By the end of its run, “Furious 7” will likely hit $US1 billion worldwide.
Here’s a look at the other opening weekends in the franchise. With the exception of the third film, “Tokyo Drift,” each opening weekend has been bigger than the last.
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