Box Office: 'Furious 7' Revs Up for Likely $110M-Plus Debut

Furious 7 Still 1 - H 2015
Scott Garfield

Furious 7 Still 1 - H 2015

The movie marks the final film from the late Paul Walker, who died in a car crash during a break from production.

Universal's Furious 7 is on the fast track to score one of the biggest box-office debuts in recent memory when it hits theaters April 3.

Furious 7 — marking the final film from the late Paul Walker — could open between $110 million and $115 million in North America, according to box-office pundits with access to early tracking.

Last year, the only movie to come in at $110 million or more in its domestic launch was Lionsgate's The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 ($121.9 million). And, to date, the current record-holder for top April opening is Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which debuted to $95 million in late April 2014.

Furious 7 is expected to usher in a string of mega-openings at the box office this year. Disney and Marvel's The Avengers: Age of Ultron, set to open May 1, hasn't come on tracking yet, but some forecasters are already suggesting it could score the top opening of all time domestically, eclipsing the record-breaking breaking start of The Avengers ($207 million) in 2012.

With three weeks left to go in terms of advertising, Furious 7 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 long Memorial Day weekend in 2012, 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, Brian O'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 and Tyrese Gibson and Walker in his last onscreen role) against Jason Statham’s Ian Shaw, out for revenge after the death of his brother. Needless to say, the new trailer suggests that the resolution of that conflict will be as glamorous and explosive as earlier installments in the series.