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'Furious 7' holds on to box office; 'Age of Ultron' looms

Published:Monday | April 27, 2015 | 4:00 AM
Vin Diesel

AP:

Furious 7 enjoyed a victory lap over the weekend, becoming only the third film ever to make $1 billion internationally and leading the domestic box office for the fourth straight week. But the movie that's poised to topple the Universal juggernaut, Marvel's The Avengers: Age of Ultron, revved up overseas with a massive $201.2 million debut.

In North American theaters, Furious 7 had enough left in the tank to top all films with an estimated $18.3 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. While the film has been a huge domestic hit, it's been even bigger abroad particularly in China, where it's set a record with $323 million.

Furious 7, a film whose fate was once in doubt after the death of star Paul Walker midway through shooting, has now made $1.3 billion globally. Only two other films, both by James Cameron Avatar and Titanic have made more money internationally than Furious 7.

Furious 7 has had little competition to challenge it throughout April. This weekend, the only new wide release was the Blake Lively fantasy romance, The Age of Adaline. The Lionsgate and Lakeshore Entertainment release came in third with $13.4 million. The Sony comedy, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, held up stronger than expected to take second place with $15.5 million in its second week.

But the reign of Furious 7 is effectively over now that the highly anticipated Avengers sequel is on the way. Though it doesn't open in North America until Thursday night, it debuted in 44 countries and territories this weekend. That represents about half of its international rollout.

Disney said the film is exceeding the pace of 2012's The Avengers by 44 per cent in the places it has opened. Joss Whedon's first installment of the superhero team-up franchise, starring Robert Downey Jr, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson and many others, made $1.5 billion worldwide, good for third all-time.

With two enormous blockbusters covering much of the globe, the summer movie season is ready to officially begin next weekend. In the meantime, a few smaller films carved out more limited releases.

Russell Crowe's directorial debut, The Water Diviner, opened in 320 locations with $1.3 million. The critically acclaimed indie science-fiction drama, Ex Machina, expanded to 1,255 screens in its second week of release and earned $5.4 million.

Here are estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at US, and Canadian cinemas, according to Rentrak:

1. Furious 7, $18.3 million ($69.7 million international).

2. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, $15.5 million ($5.3 million international).

3. The Age of Adaline, $13.4 million ($1.3 million international).

4. Home, $8.3 million ($13.7 million international).

5. Unfriended, $6.2 million.

6. Ex Machina, $5.4 million ($500,000 international).

7. The Longest Ride, $4.4 million ($1.1 million international).

8. Get Hard, $3.9 million.

9. Monkey Kingdom, $3.5 million.

10. Woman in Gold, $3.5 million.