'Furious 7' speeds ahead of the competition
Los Angeles — Even in its debut weekend, Kevin James's "Paul Blart" sequel couldn't outpace "Furious 7."
The reigning box office champion might have slowed from its blockbuster debut, but "Furious 7" maintained first place for the third weekend in a row with an estimated $29.1 million, according to box office tracker Rentrak on Sunday.
This brings the high-octane action movie's domestic total to a staggering $294 million, well above the $202.8 million that "Fast & Furious 6" had earned at the same point in the cycle in 2013. The film crossed the $1 billion mark Friday.
"The film has set a new standard for the potential for box-office in the pre-summer month of April and has truly become part of movie folklore with its record setting numbers, strong reviews, spectacular word-of-mouth and of course the outpouring of support for late star Paul Walker," Rentrak's Senior Media Analyst Paul Dergarabedian said.
"Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2" came in a close second with an estimated $24 million. While the PG-rated comedy didn't perform as well as the first film's $31.8 million opening in 2009, it did surpass Sony's modest expectations. Also, it only cost $30 million to produce.
"It's a great result. It's going to be very profitable for us and a big success," Sony's President of Worldwide Distribution Rory Bruer said.
"It was something that Kevin really wanted to do and we wanted to do it with him," he said. "Kudos to Kevin for working so hard in promoting the film."
Dergarabedian said "Blart's" opening "proves that if you give the people what they want, you can make a tidy profit."
Meanwhile, the low-budget, social media themed thriller "Unfriended" took third place with $16 million — sixteen times its production budget.
With "Furious 7" topping the charts again and a strong debut for "Unfriended," Universal's President of Domestic Distribution Nick Carpou marveled how both of films are "so successful at both ends of the spectrum."
"When you find success you look to repeat them," he said of Universal's partnership with Blumhouse on microbudget horror films. "It works."
"Unfriended" is the 11th microbudget film to open above $15 million for Blumhouse. Other successes include "Ouija," ''The Purge" series and "The Boy Next Door."
According to exit polls, audiences for "Unfriended" were 60 percent female and 74 percent under the age of 25.
Rounding out the top five were holdovers "Home" and "The Longest Ride," with $10.3 million and $6.9 million, respectively.
Disney's animal film "Monkey Kingdom" debuted to $4.7 million to claim the seventh spot, in line with last year's "Bears," also from Disneynature.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Rentrak.
1."Furious 7," $29.1 million.
2."Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2," $24 million.
3."Unfriended," $16 million.
4."Home," $10.3 million.
5."The Longest Ride," $6.9 million.
6."Get Hard," $4.8 million.
7."Monkey Kingdom," $4.7 million.
8."Woman In Gold," $4.6 million.
9."The Divergent Series: Insurgent," $4.2 million.
10."Cinderella," $3.9 million.
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