This weekend, movie theaters around the world will be filled with the sounds of revving engines and exploding (literally) vehicles, with moviegoers likely driving the latest installment from the Fast & Furious movie franchise to the top of the Hollywood box office.
The Fate of the Furious—the eighth movie in the auto-centric, action-comedy series—is eyeing a weekend opening well above the $100 million-mark in North America for Comcast-owned Universal Studios. That would give the film the second-largest domestic debut of the year, behind Walt Disney’s Beauty and the Beast adaptation ($175 million), while steering a path for eventual worldwide grosses of more than $1 billion.
Tracking website Box Office Mojo predicts a $115 million domestic opening for The Fate of the Furious this weekend, which should easily top the limited competition in a weekend without any other major new releases.
The movie is also expected to dominate the overseas box office, especially after setting a new record for ticket pre-sales in China’s massive movie market, where 2015’s Furious 7 became the highest-grossing foreign release ever with $390 million in total ticket sales. By comparison, Furious 7 made “only” $353 million domestically, scoring more than three-quarters of its total box office gross overseas.
The Fate of the Furious isn’t expected to completely live up to the financial precedent set by Furious 7, which capitalized on the franchise’s final appearance from the late actor Paul Walker and went on to gross more than $1.5 billion globally.
But the new film has been relatively well-reviewed by critics who seem to feel that The Fate of the Furious mostly delivers what the franchise’s fans have come to expect: high-octane action sequences, occasionally hokey comedy from a cast with long-developed chemistry, and (of course) a bevy of expensive and flashy vehicles. The movie currently sports a 65% rating on movie reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
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The latest Fast & Furious installment also heralds the coming rush of summer blockbuster films, even though Hollywood’s blockbuster season now seems to run year-round.
While the movie will likely rule the box office for most of April—with few potential blockbusters set for release over the month’s remaining weekends—Walt Disney has once again staked out the first weekend of May for the Mouse House’s latest Marvel Studios release, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. That comic adaptation sequel is already getting major buzz, with early tracking projecting a potential $150 million opening.