The Fate of the Furious has raced to the top of the box office chart – breaking an international record in the process.
The Universal film, starring Vin Diesel and directed by F. Gary Gray, raked in an estimated $532.5 million in its global box office debut, CNN reported.
That beats the previous record set by Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which pulled in $529 million across the globe in its opening weekend.
The figures for Fast & Furious 8 (titled The Fate of the Furious in the US) were boosted by takings in foreign markets. The film took $423.3m altogether, across 63 territories.
A hefty proportion of that total came from China, where the film set a record for the biggest three-day opening weekend, taking $190m. (Although Chinese cinemas only give studios about 25% of ticket sales, roughly half of what they receive in most other major territories.)
Rhianna Dhillon, film critic and host BBC Radio 4’s Seriously podcast, says the success of the Fast & Furious franchise is down to its “universal appeal”.
“They’re films people of all ages can enjoy, because they have that pure, unadulterated escapism about them, children and adults alike are quite happy to watch things get blown up and smashed up,” she said.
“A lot of what drags movies like The Avengers down is the plot, and Fast & Furious isn’t trying to compete with those heavy, convoluted storylines. This is just cars smashing into each other and it’s okay to enjoy that.
“This franchise isn’t trying to be anything it’s not. Ultimately, from the bottom up, it doesn’t take itself too seriously.”