Furious 7 on track to be tops in China

Updated: 2015-04-23 10:54

By Amy He in New York(China Daily USA)

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Furious 7, the seventh installment in the Fast and Furious franchise, is on pace to become the highest-grossing film in China, dethroning Transformers: Age of Extinction.

Since its release in China on April 12, Furious 7 has grossed close to $246 million in just eight days. The movie had the highest-ever opening weekend with $182 million, twice the opening that Transformers: Age of Extinction achieved with $92 million.

The car-racing action movie was watched by near 30 million Chinese viewers who paid about $6.30 a ticket to watch the film, according to data from Ent Group.

"There's no doubt that Furious 7 is going to surpass Transformers" at the Chinese box office, said Rob Cain, Chinese-movie industry analyst and partner in film co-production company Pacific Bridge Pictures.

Cain said that one thing that helped Furious 7 at the Chinese box office was the lack of competitive films that opened at the same time as the Paul Walker-starring feature.

The release date in early April "didn't initially look great" because the film opened on a Sunday, atypical of big blockbusters in China. However, because there weren't similar movies from the domestic Chinese market or from Hollywood opening at the same time, Furious 7 was shown on a record number of screens, capturing a record percentage of movie theaters in China, he said.

"This is the kind of movie that does best in China - these big budget, effects-driven, action spectacles," Cain said.

"China loves those, and there's a lot of pent-up demand; there hasn't been a big effects driven movie - or at least a Hollywood effects-driven movie - released in China since Interstellar back in November, and I'm not sure that one even counts, that was sort of a ponderous movie," he said, referring to the Oscar-nominated film starring Matthew McConaughey.

The Fast and Furious franchise originally focused on street racing, but eventually evolved to include other action story lines, though cars are still a heavy focus. The seventh installment was directed by Malaysian-Chinese director James Wan, and four of the previous installments were directed by Chinese-American director Justin Lin.

"They love these movies about big, fast machines," Cain said.