Fans will finally get to see the highly-anticipated sequel The Fate of the Furious during sneak preview screenings tonight, but fans in select international markets got to see the movie a few days early, and it is already off to a great start. Universal's sequel opened in eight international markets on Wednesday, pulling in $7.9 million, and when previews for 12 other territories are figured in, the international tally jumps to $19.7 million. The sequel opens in 33 more territories today, while it is also expected to open huge in China, after setting a new pre-sales box office record.
Deadline reports that China's midnight screenings got under way at 9 AM PST, with pre-sale figures adding up to a whopping $43.5 million, just two hours before the screenings kicked off. This tally easily beat China's previous pre-sales record of $14.6 million for Tsui Hark and Stephen Chow's Chinese blockbuster Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back, which debuted in January. The Chinese market has been increasingly important to Hollywood studios over the past few years, with Universal looking to capitalize on the massive success of 2015's Furious 7.
Furious 7 became the highest-grossing movie domestically in the franchise, with $353 million, but it also reached new heights internationally, earning $1.16 billion overseas for a worldwide total of $1.5 billion, the first movie in the franchise to surpass $1 billion. That happened largely to its immense success in China, where it earned an astounding $390.9 million, the most of any country, taking this franchise to new heights. By comparison, the previous installment in this high-octane franchise, 2013's Fast & Furious 6, earned $238.6 million domestically and $550 million internationally for a worldwide total of $788.6 million worldwide, $66.4 million of which came from China.
We reported earlier this week that box office analysts are predicting a Fast 8 global box office debut of roughly $375 million, although some think it could cross $400 million by Sunday. Furious 7 kicked off with a $397 million global debut, and if this new China pre-sales record is any indication, Fast 8 should open huge in China, and likely the rest of the world as well. Analysts have projected a domestic debut between $150 million and $160 million, which would be another franchise high and break Furious 7's April opening weekend record of $147.1 million. We'll find out for sure how much this sequel makes when the estimates roll in on Sunday morning.
On the heels of 2015's Furious 7, one of the fastest movies to reach $1 billion worldwide in box-office history and the sixth-biggest global title of all time, comes the newest chapter in one of the most popular and enduring motion-picture serials of all time, The Fate of the Furious. Now that Dom and Letty are on their honeymoon and Brian and Mia have retired from the game, and the rest of the crew has been exonerated, the globetrotting team has found a semblance of a normal life. But when a mysterious woman (Oscar winner Charlize Theron) seduces Dom into the world of crime he can't seem to escape and a betrayal of those closest to him, they will face trials that will test them as never before. From the shores of Cuba and the streets of New York City to the icy plains off the arctic Barents Sea, our elite force will crisscross the globe to stop an anarchist from unleashing chaos on the world's stage, and to bring home the man who made them a family.