"The Fate Of The Furious" New York Premiere
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'Fate of the Furious' Nabs $100.2M in U.S. For Record $532.5M Global Start

Thanks to an all-time best China launch of $190 million, the eighth installment in the popular franchise surpassed the previous worldwide record launch of 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens.'

Universal's Fast and the Furious franchise is showing no signs of running out of gas on the world stage.

The Fate of the Furious, directed by F. Gary Gray, raced to an estimated $532.5 million global debut over Easter weekend, including $100.2 million domestically and a $432.2 million overseas.

If those estimates hold when final numbers are tallied early Monday, Furious 8 will eclipse Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($529 million) to boast the biggest worldwide opening of all time. Either way, it is assured of scoring the top international launch of all time, surpassing fellow Universal title Jurassic World ($316.7 million).

Furious 8 had the advantage of opening day-and-date in China, where it earned a massive $190 million, the biggest three-day bow in history. Overall, the tentpole debuted at No. 1 in all 63 foreign markets, and it did more business than any previous installment in 32 of those.

In North America, Furious 8 scored the second-biggest launch of the franchise behind Furious 7's $147 million. Furious 7 (2015) was the final film in the series to star Paul Walker, who died in a tragic car crash in November 2013. Globally, Furious 7 launched to $397.7 million (it didn't open in China until a week later).

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"This franchise is showing no sign of wear and tear," said Universal international distribution chief Duncan Clark. "Fate of the Furious is satisfying audiences on many different levels."

Added Universal domestic distribution president Nick Carpou: "Considering this is the second-highest opening domestically out of eight films speaks to the fact that people continue to be interested in the storyline."

Long heralded for its diverse cast, Furious 8 played to audiences of all ethnicities and nabbed an A CinemaScore. Domestically, Caucasians made up 41 percent of the audience, followed by Hispanics (26 percent), African-Americans (21) percent, Asians (11 percent) and Native American/Other (3 percent), according to comScore's exit polling service PostTrack. The pic skewed male at 58 percent, far more than the last film at 51 percent.

Gray is making his franchise debut after helming Straight Outta Compton for Universal. Fate of the Furious once again stars Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Elsa Pataky and Kurt Russell. Newcomers include Charlize Theron, Helen Mirren and Scott Eastwood. The story follows a villainous superhacker (Theron) who turns Diesel's character against his crew.

The Fast and Furious movies have collectively grossed more than $3.9 billion globally. Furious 7 was far and away the biggest earner and the only installment to cross $1 billion on its way to finishing its worldwide run with $1.516 billion.

Fate of the Furious certainly spooked the competition; no other film opened against it nationwide.

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At the specialty box office, The Lost City of Z did nicely for Amazon Studios and Bleecker Street, opening to $112,633 from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a location average of $28,158. The period adventure film, directed by James Gray and produced by Brad Pitt's Plan B, stars Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson and Sienna Miller.

Another limited offering was the animated film Spark: A Space Tail, which debuted to a miserable $100,000 from 365 theaters for Open Road and the filmmakers.

Back in the top 10, Fox and DreamWorks Animation's The Boss Baby placed No. 2 with $15.5 million for a domestic cume of $116.5 million and worldwide haul of $287.6 million. (Fox also celebrated Logan passing the $600 million mark globally over the weekend.) Disney's Beauty and the Beast held at No. 3 with $13.5 million for a domestic total of $454.7 million and $1.043 billion worldwide.

Sony's Smurfs: The Lost Village continued to remain obscured, falling a steep 51 percent in its second weekend to $6.5 million for $24.7 million in North America and $94.7 million globally. New Line and Village Roadshow's Going in Style has grossed almost as much domestically as Smurfs, earning $6.4 million in its second outing for a domestic total of $23.4 million and $35.1 million worldwide.

This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.

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Actor Kel Mitchell and actor Kenan Thompson attend the 50th Annual Writers Guild of America Awards on February 21, 1998 at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd/WireImage)

Kenan Thompson Says Kel Mitchell Will Appear In Revamped 'All That' Series

Pretty much everyone who was a fan of 90s Nickelodeon staple All That was thrilled to hear Kenan Thompson's role of executive producer in the revamped series. Now more great news has arrived as the comedian shared that Kel Michell will also return to the sketch comedy show.

Speaking with Page Six at the Writers Guild Awards Sunday (Feb. 16), Thompson shared his hopes to bridge the gap between the original cast and new members.

“Whoever’s down to [come to] do it, we would love to have them in my opinion,” Thompson said. “I know Kel [Mitchell’s] coming back, and I remember working close [sic] with Josh Server as well. I think all the old cast members should come support the new cast members. That’s just how it should go.”

Before their spinoff Kenan and Kel, the two were golden on All That with skits joint skits like Good Burger and solo characters Pierre Escargot and Repairman.

So far, things seemed to be going Thompson's way. Former All That alum  Danny Tamberelli also told Page Six he was thrilled to hear about the revival.

“I think it’s awesome!” Tamberelli said."All That was a show that reached out to so many kids from all different backgrounds and brought them all together through laughter.”

Tamberelli was apart of seasons four through six and was also one of the main character's on Nick's other enjoyable series, Pete and Pete.

Check out some memorable skits from All That below.

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Alberto E. Rodriguez

Jussie Smollett's Attorneys Deny Actor Paid $3,500 To Orchestrate Attack

Sources close to the Jussie Smollett investigation have spoken with several media outlets and allege new evidence shows the Empire actor may have orchestrated the attack, and even paid men $3,500 to go through with it.

The two men who are brothers were arrested Wednesday and released Friday (Feb. 15) without charges. Both men are cooperating fully with Chicago police, and authorities found records they purchased a rope at a local hardware store, which was used during the attack.

Smollett's attorneys, Todd S. Pugh, and Victor P. Henderson, quickly denied the claim made by authorities.

"As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with," the statement read. "He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying."

On Jan. 29, Smollett was leaving a Subway fast-food restaurant when the actor alleges to have been attacked by two men who beat him, poured bleach on him and tried to hang a rope around his neck. The 35-year-old entertainer, who identifies as gay, said one of the men shouted "This is MAGA country" as well as other racial and homophobic slurs.

Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said one of the men appeared on Empire and have past affiliation with Smollett.

During his interview with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America Thursday (Feb. 14), Smollett expressed frustration about not being believed. Sunday morning (Feb. 17) the hashtag 'JussieSmollettHoax' trended on Twitter. The Internet was split with many offering a digital "I told you so" due to the reports, while others, particularly members of the black LGBTQ community, questioning why many were quick to believe the word of law enforcement.

Us straight men waiting on the LGBT community to apologize after Jussie lied pic.twitter.com/0PDmNX4ykZ

— Flickens McCray (@Mickens__) February 17, 2019

I said earlier I'd eat crow if it was proven wrong (...as in *actually* proven with receipts...not just on the word of one of the most corrupt PD's in existence), but really? Nah.

Defaulting to believing survivors, esp of my own community, is just not a praxis to find fault in.

— 😒 (@angryblkhoemo) February 17, 2019

No idea what actually happened w/ Jussie Smollett. But do know that 4 years ago, Chicago PD spent 13 months justifying Laquan McDonald’s murder before releasing dashcam video showing he was walking away before being shot at 16x by an officer. Why are we just accepting their word?

— Scott Hechinger (@ScottHech) February 17, 2019

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American Soul Episode 3 Recap: Don the Father, Don the Son

American Soul's third episode three opens as the major characters confront various types of loss in their worlds. The Clarke family lays Joseph to rest, accompanied by Babyface’s spare, a capella rendition of “What’s Going On” (Babyface is the music supervisor for American Soul). Tessa digs under her bed to pull out an old dance photo and stare at it longingly. Don is still chasing large bookings like Marvin Gaye - and still hitting a wall - when Delores calls to tell him their oldest son is missing.

The Clarke siblings are processing their grief in different ways. Because of his father’s death, Kendall is now head of household, so his draft is waived. He’s saddled with guilt, “The only reason I’m not in Vietnam right now is because dad died. What do I do with that?” and thinks he needs to get into responsible adult mode (as though he weren’t already a father…but we digress). Simone’s wants to honor her father through her music, and while Kendall and JT want to cancel a gig the group has scheduled, she thinks Joseph would want them to move forward. She sneaks out to perform alone and almost falters during a song dedicated to her dad until JT steps in to join her and save the performance. While Kendall grapples with the idea of becoming the man of the house, Brienne (Kelly Price) actively steps into the role and handles small things that were her husband’s domain; namely, a leaky faucet announcing Joseph’s permanent absence with every drip.

JT is still facing struggles at every turn. We have yet to see this poor boy walk into his apartment without some drama in progress. His mama’s about to burn the house down by leaving a pot on the stove. The CRIPS are about to get him railroaded into an attempted murder charge - mind you, he didn’t even get his rent money out of the heist! And people keep talking to him any kind of way. Even Simone takes shots at him about his dad not being around. His own girlfriend, SMH. They make up after JT joins her to perform, and as they’re cozying up in his blue Chevy Nova to share the most romantic moment two teenagers can share in a car, the cops are issuing an all-points bulletin for that exact make and model and getting names of accomplices. Let’s keep JT lifted in prayer.

We get the first hints of Tessa’s (Iantha Richardson) backstory as she chastises the sassy and ambitious Soul Train dancer Flo for inappropriate conduct with Rufus Thomas (Bobby Brown) before and during the show's taping. “I know you’re reaching for something bigger, but it’s not guys like Rufus who pay the price when everything goes wrong.” She gives the dancer advice she perhaps wishes someone had given her, “I know you. I was you. You’re talented, but you’ve got to start making (better decisions).”  (Spoiler alert: the advice lands on deaf ears.) There’s a great scene intercut between Simone’s performance and Tessa dancing alone in the dim Soul Train studio. For the first time since we’ve met her, she’s unguarded and joyful. We anticipate a Svengali story to emerge soon, explaining her failed professional dance career.

Don’s missing son, Tony, shows up on the set of Soul Train just as Don is preparing to catch a flight back to Chicago to find him. This season's first two episodes gave insight into Don’s struggles as a husband, now we learn about his struggles as a father. Throughout the episode, flashbacks to Don’s “lessons” from his tough, abusive father are juxtaposed against his interactions with young Tony. Don struggles to balance the emotional distance and unflinching firmness he was taught – making Tony work “like a man,” when he shows up at the studio, telling him he thinks he’s grown, commanding respect through fear – with the pure love and yearning he sees in his son.

Tony just wants to be with him, whatever that takes. Don wants to break generational cycles, he wants to be a better man and father than his father was – the last flashback is of Don as a young man beating his dad in a fight and declaring his independence – but softness is a challenge for him. When Tony gets back to Chicago, he plays out a version of “Why he don’t want me, Uncle Phil?” with his mother Deloris (Perri Camper), who assures him that his Daddy loves him “so strong that it’ll break the world in two, and whatever he’s done wrong is small when you hold it against that.” (Grown Tony Cornelius, by the way, is the Executive Producer of American Soul.)

What this episode got right: Robert Barisford Brown aka Bobby Brown as Rufus Thomas just made us so incredibly happy, because Bobby was basically playing a future version of himself. Thomas pulling Flo on stage to dance – and Don being mad about it – is based on Soul Train dancer Damita Jo Freeman jumping on stage to dance with singer Joe Tex – and Don being mad about it.

What it could have done without: About three of the flashbacks to Don and his father. We got the point after the first couple of scenes.

What we absolutely don’t believe: That high-class escorts were just sauntering into the studio or Don’s office while the show was taping, with him running a tight ship. Don’s from Chicago, Chicago – you ain’t walking up on him unannounced and unexpectedly.

What we don’t understand: Why we saw a Kentucky Fried Chicken ad, kept hearing talk about ad dollars and accounts, but there’s been no mention of Afro Sheen or Ultra Sheen.

American Soul is still more heavy-handed in some places than we’d prefer; still a little too on-the-nose with dialogue in places. But it’s an acceptable price for an otherwise strong show. The live performances are great – Katlyn Nichol’s voice is amazing - and we're loving the celebrity guests. We're very curious to see Michelle Williams as Diana Ross next week. We did miss Gerald Aims and his antics in this episode, though. Hopefully, he’s back with some new one-liners in episode four.

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