Universal’s Furious 7 opened to a stellar $10.2 million in a dozen international markets on Wednesday for an early foreign total of $16.9 million including previews in 22 additional territories.
Furious 7 — the final film featuring the latePaul Walker — is cruising into theaters across the world this weekend and could easily take in north of $250 million by the end of Easter Sunday. In the 12 markets where it opened Wednesday, it is pacing 60 percent ahead of blockbuster Fast & Furious 6 for a franchise-best opening day.
The movie is getting the widest release in Universal’s history. Internationally, it has booked more than 10,500 screens in 63 territories, although it won’t open in China, Japan and Russia until later. German led Wednesday with $2.6 million, followed by France with $2.5 million.
Furious 7 scored the biggest opening day of all time in Thailand ($1.3 million); ditto in Peru, Bolivia, Trinidad and Indonesia.
In North America, the movie begins rolling out Thursday night in select theaters before expanding into a total of 4,003 theaters on Good Friday. Furious 7 is poised to gross $115 million or more in its domestic launch, the top showing ever for an April title, not accounting for inflation.
The current record-holder for top April opening domestically is Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which debuted to $95 million from 3,928 theaters last year.
Furious 7 is likewise poised to nab the biggest opening of 2015 to date. And if it beats the $121.9 million launch of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 in November 2014, it will mark the largest three-day opening since The Hunger Games: Catching Fire ($158 million) in November 2013.
The movie enjoys massive awareness and interest, due to both the popularity of the street-racing series and Walker’s death. The last film, Fast & Furious 6, debuted to a franchise-best $117 million over the four-day Memorial Day weekend in 2012, including $97.4 million for the three days, on its way to grossing $788.7 million worldwide.
Universal intended to open Furious 7 on July 11, 2014, but production was halted in November 2013 when Walker died in a car crash during the Thanksgiving hiatus. After director James Wan, writer Chris Morgan and Universal pored over existing footage and tweaked the script, production resumed in April 2014.
CGI and voice effects were used in some scenes featuring Walker’s detective character, BrianO’Conner, with Walker’s brothers, Caleb and Cody, used as stand-ins.
Furious 7 pits Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto and crew (which includes Michelle Rodriguez andTyrese Gibson, among others, as well as Walker) against Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw, out for revenge after the death of his brother. Dwayne Johnson also reprises his role as Hobbs.