We are Groot: 'Furious 7' Sets B.O. Record in China
An absurdly moronic, biceps-heavy movie becomes absurdly popular at the box office, and for once it's not America's fault.
Yes, “Furious 7” topped the U.S. box office for the fourth weekend in a row—the first film to do that since “The Hunger Games” in the spring of 2012. And sure, it's already grossed $320 million here, which is by far the best performance of the year (second place: “Cinderella” at $190). But that $320 million is only the 36th-best domestic b.o. of all time. And if you adjust for inflation, “Furious 7” drops all the way down to 179th place.
No, where the movie is really killing is overseas.
It was the No. 1 movie last weekend in every country Box Office Mojo lists, and it's already become, at US$323 million, the highest-grossing film of all time in China. It's currently at $1.321 billion worldwide, which is fifth all time, and a mere $20 million away from passing the last “Harry Potter” flick for fourth place. After that, it's “The Avengers” ($1.518 billion), and then Cameron country (> $2 billion).
Keep in mind: This is for a movie starring muscle cars and muscleheads. Fifty years ago, it would've been relegated to drive-ins.
What changed? How did this series go from $158 million worldwide for 2006's “Tokyo Drift” to $788 million worldwide for 2013's “Furious 6” to $1.3 billion and counting now? Was it star Paul Walker's untimely death in 2013? The trailer shots of muscle cars parachuting from planes? The numerous and gratuitous shots of girls' asses? Or have we all suddenly become huge Vin Diesel fans? (We are Groot.)
Elsewhere in the domestic box office, “The Age of Adaline,” a Blake Lively romantic tragedy (rom-trag?), which looked awful from its trailer last November, opened in third place at $13 million, while the second weekend of “Paul Blart 2” fell off 35% for a $15.5 million showing: not bad, but overall it looks to do about half the business the original did in 2009 ($143 million).
Meanwhile, “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” prepares to blow away everyone next weekend. In the states. Abroad, it's already opened, and has pulled in $201 million.