DreamWorks Animation's The Boss Baby had no trouble repeating for a second straight box office win last weekend, taking in $26.3 million, easily knocking back newcomers Smurfs: The Lost Village ($13.2 million), Going in Style ($11.9 million) and The Case for Christ ($3.9 million). This weekend, only one movie arrives in wide release, Universal's The Fate of the Furious, with Open Road Films' animated tale Spark opening in just 350 theaters, far less than originally expected, which is probably a good thing for that movie, since it would have likely been just decimated by this high-octane sequel. With nothing standing in its way, we're predicting that Furious 8 will debut with a record-breaking $152.6 million this weekend.
If that figure is accurate, it will break the all-time April opening weekend record of $147.1 million set by its predecessor Furious 7 in 2015. That movie opened in 4,004 theaters two years ago, but Box Office Mojo reports that Furious 8 will open in more than 4,200 theaters this weekend, with Rotten Tomatoes also revealing that the movie is already a critical hit with a 79% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The RT rating is ironically the exact same rating that Furious 7 was given, and with the sequel opening in 200 more theaters than its predecessor, it should have no trouble whatsoever beating the April opening weekend record.
The sheer fact that no other studio is putting a movie against The Fate of the Furious is just one sign of how this franchise came from humble roots to utterly dominate at the box office. The 2001 film The Fast and the Furious, which first brought together Dominic Torreto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O'Connor (Paul Walker), was a surprise hit for Universal, opening with $40 million en route to $144.5 million domestic and $207.2 million worldwide, from a $38 million budget. The 2003 sequel 2 Fast 2 Furious did not bring back Vin Diesel, but took Paul Walker's Brian O'Connor to Miami, introducing franchise favorites Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej Parker (Ludacris), earning $127.1 million domestic and $236.3 million worldwide, from a $73 million budget, although 2006's The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift severely underperformed with just $62.5 million domestic and $158.4 million worldwide.
While that third movie's take would normally cause the end of most franchises, it essentially helped give birth to this franchise's rebirth, with Tokyo Drift writer Chris Morgan taking the creative reins of the franchise, writing every other movie since then. After a brief cameo at the end of Tokyo Drift, Vin Diesel's Dominic Toretto fully returned in 2009's Fast & Furious, which earned $155 million domestic and $363.1 million worldwide, from an $85 million budget. The 2011 follow-up Fast Five introduced Dwayne Johnson's Luke Hobbs into the franchise, which helped take it to new heights with $209.8 million domestically and $626.1 million worldwide, from a $125 million budget. 2013's Fast & Furious 6 earned $238.6 million domestically and $788.6 million worldwide, but 2015's Furious 7 truly took the franchise to new heights with a franchise-best $353 million domestically and $1.5 billion worldwide, from a whopping $190 million budget.
The only thing that may have the potential to hurt this sequel is the supposed "feud" between stars Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson, which fans first heard about during the final week of production, when Dwayne Johnson took to social media to call some of his unidentified male co-stars "candy-asses." While Dwayne Johnson would never identify who his rant was targeted at, Vin Diesel was fingered, although the studio claimed it had all been resolved and that it wouldn't hurt the movie when it came time to promoting the sequel. However, there were reports that both Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson were being kept separated during the promotional tour, since Dwayne Johnson attended CinemaCon for two straight days, to promote different projects, although he left town the day before the Fast 8 team arrived.
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.
We're predicting the top 10 will be rounded out by Beauty and the Beast ($14.7 million), The Boss Baby ($12.6 million), Smurfs: The Lost Village ($7.1 million), Going in Style ($6.2 million), Ghost in the Shell ($3.9 million), Power Rangers ($3 million), Kong: Skull Island ($2.7 million), Logan ($2.1 million) and Get Out ($2 million). Also opening in limited release is Indican horror film 7 Witches, Abramorama's documentary Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary, The Orchard's documentary Jeremiah Tower, Bleecker Street's action-adventure The Lost City of Z, Sony Pictures Classic's dramatic thriller Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer, Music Box Films' drama A Quiet Passion, Under the Milky Way's drama The Student and Roadside Attractions' drama Tommy's Honour. Fox Searchlight's Gifted also expands to 1,000 theaters, and it's possible that it could squeak out an appearance in the top 10, although that seems unlikely.
Looking ahead to next weekend, five new films will arrive in wide release, as we get closer and closer to the summer movie season kicking off. Warner Bros. will debut Unforgettable alongside Disney's documentary Born in China, A24's Free Fire, Open Road Films' The Promise and Cinelou Films' Phoenix Forgotten. Also opening in limited release is IFC's documentary Citizen Jane and MUBI's The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki. Take a look at our top 10 projections below, and check back on Sunday for the box office estimates for the weekend of April 14.