The latest installment of the Fast and Furious franchise opens on 4,004 U.S. movie screens Friday, after a sneak peek at the IMAX version on Wednesday. “Furious 7,” the, um, seventh title in the series from Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and Universal Studios, is expected to sell $110 million in domestic tickets for the three-day weekend.
The franchise has grossed $937.8 million in U.S. ticket sales since the first film was released in the summer of 2001. Actor Paul Walker, who died during the making of “Furious 7,” appeared in six of the seven films. Walker’s death halted production on the movie for several months.
“Furious 7” could be the highest grossing of all the movies in the franchise, according to Box Office Mojo. Here is a brief rundown of how well the first six films have done:
- “The Fast and the Furious” opened on June 22, 2001, on 2,628 U.S. movie screens. It grossed $40 million in opening weekend ticket sales and posted total ticket sales of $144.5 million.
- The second film in the franchise, “2 Fast 2 Furious,” was released on June 6, 2003, on 3,408 screens. Opening weekend ticket sales totaled $50.5 million, and the film grossed $127.2 million in the United States.
- “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” came next, on June 16, 2006. Neither the late Paul Walker nor actor Vin Diesel had a role in this movie, the poorest draw of the entire franchise. The film grossed about $24 million on its opening weekend and a total of $62.5 million in its 12 weeks of release.
- The franchise recovered its mojo with “Fast and Furious,” which opened on April 3, 2009, on 3,461 screens. The franchise formula returned and the film grossed nearly $71 million on its opening weekend and $155 million in 13 weeks of domestic release.
- Success grew with the next film, “Fast Five,” which opened on 3,644 screens on April 29, 2011. Opening weekend receipts totaled $86.2 million, and the film grossed $209.8 million in 15 weeks of U.S. release.
- “Fast & Furious 6” opened on May 24, 2013, on 3,658 U.S. screens. The holiday weekend posted a record $97.4 million opening, and the film grossed $238.7 million in 15 weeks of release. The production budget for this film was $160 million and the worldwide gross totaled nearly $789 million. Those numbers assured a seventh installment.
Number 7 is expected to top number 6 for the opening weekend, but there is some stiff competition. The NCAA men’s basketball Final Four games take place Saturday, and Sunday is Easter.