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‘The Fate of the Furious’ laps new films at box office

Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press | posted Monday, Apr 24th, 2017

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“The Fate of the Furious” sped into first place at the box office again, leaving new thriller “Unforgettable” and historical drama “The Promise” in the dust.

Universal Pictures’ eighth installment in “The Fast and the Furious” franchise earned $38.7 million over the weekend, down 61 per cent from its debut, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The new competition didn’t stand a chance against the high-octane film, which had the biggest worldwide opening of all time last weekend. It’s expected to cross $1 billion globally this week.

Holdovers dominated the charts on this quiet weekend in theatres. “The Boss Baby” took second place with $12.8 million, and “Beauty and the Beast” landed in third with $10 million.

Disney’s animal documentary “Born in China” opened in fourth place, with $5.1 million from 1,508 locations. The two other new movies fared worse.

Warner Bros. thriller “Unforgettable,” starring Katherine Heigl as a jealous ex-wife and Rosario Dawson as the new fiancee, opened at No. 7 with just $4.8 million. Critics were tough on the film, and audiences gave it a deathly C CinemaScore rating.

The directorial debut of longtime producer Denise Di Novi cost only $12 million to make, but the meagre result still disappointed.

“Unfortunately, the movie just missed the intended audience,” said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros.’ president of domestic distribution. “We had higher expectations, and we’re disappointed we didn’t achieve them.”

There is a silver lining for the studio. The buddy comedy “Going in Style,” starring Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin, is chugging along after three weeks in theatres, taking fifth place with $5 million.

Meanwhile, the historical epic “The Promise,” starring Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale, bombed with a mere $4.1 million from 2,251 theatres.

The movie delves into the mass killings of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey that many countries and most historians call genocide. Turkey still denies genocide, saying the deaths stemmed from civil unrest and war.

It’s not a surprise the film, which was estimated to cost around $100 million to make, failed to gain traction, comScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian said.

“It didn’t really jump out as anything that would be a surprising box-office hit,” Dergarabedian said. “But it wasn’t really about the box office.”

Made outside the studio system and distributed by Open Road Films, the point of “The Promise” was to raise awareness around a global event that many know nothing about, he said.

Celebrities from Kim Kardashian West to Cher promoted the film on social media. Its makers said they will donate all proceeds to nonprofits and intend to use the PG-13-rated film as an education tool in schools.

“It was a tough weekend in general for the newcomers,” Dergarabedian said, noting that many moviegoers are likely saving up for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” which hits theatres May 5.

“It’s a quiet period,” he added. “This is the interlude between the spring movie season and what promises to be the biggest summer movie season ever.”

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theatres, according to comScore. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1.“The Fate of the Furious,” $38.7 million.
2.“The Boss Baby,” $12.8 million.
3.“Beauty and the Beast,” $10 million.
4.“Born in China,” $5.1 million.
5.“Going in Style,” $5 million.
6.“Smurfs: The Lost Village,” $4.9 million.
7.“Unforgettable,” $4.8 million.
8.“Gifted,” $4.5 million.
9.“The Promise,” $4.1 million.
10.“The Lost City of Z,” $2.1 million.
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Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.

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