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Universal’s holdover Furious 7 easily beat Nicholas Sparks romancer The Longest Ride at the Friday box-office bull pen, grossing $18.8 million from 4,022 theaters for a projected weekend haul of $60.2 million, one of the best showings of all time for a film in its sophmore frame.
If those estimates hold, Furious 7 will see a decline of 59 percent from its historic debut, less than the last film, Fast and Furious 6 (64 percent). And by the end of Sunday, the goliath will see its domestic total swell to $252, surpassing in 10 days the $238.7 million earned by Fast 6 in 15 weeks. Globally, Furious 7 will likely finish the weekend with north of $700 million.
Furious 7 crossed the $200 million mark on Friday in North America, its eighth day in releases, making it the fastest title in Universal’s history to reach that mark, finishing the day with $210.7 million. Despicable Me 2 was the previous best (11 days).
Longest Ride, starring Scott Eastwood and Britt Robertson, grossed an estimated $5.5 million Friday from 3,132 theaters to come in No. 3 behind Furious 7 and Home. The $40 million movie, nabbing an A CinemaScore, is projected to earn $13.6 million for the weekend.
While that’s better than the $10 million earned by The Best of Me last fall, it is below other recent movies adapted from one of the prolific author’s novels. Females made up 80 percent of ticket buyers, many of them older.
George Tillman Jr., directed Longest Ride for Fox 2000, which decided to give Clint Eastwood‘s son his first leading role. Eastwood plays a former bull-riding champion trying to make a comeback who is in love with a college student (Britt Robertson) about to begin a job at a high-end art gallery in New York.
The two find themselves at odds in terms of their future but re-examine their priorities after rescuing an older man from a car crash who later recounts his marriage and the importance of enduring love.
Longest Ride is getting skewered by critics, most of whom who aren’t generally enamored with the Sparks brand.
Home, from DreamWorks Animation and Fox, earned $5.6 million Friday from 3,703 locations for a projected $19 million weekend and pushing its domestic total to nearly $130 million through Sunday.
Elsewhere, specialty film Woman in Gold is expanding nationwide after a robust opening in 258 theaters last weekend. The Nazi stolen-art drama, starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds, will come in a solid No. 7 this weekend with an estimated $6.1 million for a domestic total of $9.6 million for The Weinstein Co.
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