Okay, sure the ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise has proven to be surprisingly successful at the box office.  The latest, ‘The Fate of the Furious’ just zoomed past the $1 billion mark globally, topping ‘Furious 7’.  ‘Fate’ is now the most successful import film in China’s history.  It was just released in Japan, and it was the best performer in the franchise’s entire run.  Internationally, it has surpassed the other ‘F&F’ movies, is the top grosser of 2017 and is the highest grossing movie ever from an African American director, F. Gary Gray.

Next week sees the release of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’, which will surely claim the #1 spot, but it seems the other studios are being extra scared.  There have literally been no other major releases in a month and while ‘Fate’ did reign supreme with $19.4M, this was the lowest grossing weekend of 2017 so far.  It’s unclear why this movie was given such a wide berth, especially considering this weekend last year, Disney ruled with the live action version of ‘The Jungle Book’ which hauled in $43.7M in its third weekend.

Eugenio Derbez’s ‘How To Be A Latin Lover’ served as counter-programming and taking in $12M, is the most successful movie ever from Lionsgate’s Hispanic label, Pantelion.  It was also Pantelion’s widest release and it will be expanding even wider in the comings weeks with an eye on Mother’s Day since the film has strong maternal themes.  The audiences were 89% Hispanic, and the appeal of Derbez’s films, mirror those of African American Tyler Perry, drawing in more conservative audiences, i.e. churchgoers.  So ‘How To Be A Latin Lover’ is expected to hold up better with the Sunday matinee crowd than usual.  Much like the faith-based films that come along every few months, the marketing for this movie was quite grassroots, with Derbez courting potential fans through social media, including encouraging them to don yellow Speedos (like the one seen above) and post pictures online.  In addition, star Salma Hayek’s appearance on ‘The Tonight Show’ went viral thanks to her salsa take on the Eric Carmen ballad ‘All By Myself’, which you can watch below:

It also scored an impressive “A” CinemaScore from audiences.

baahubali-2-759Great India Films’ ‘Bãhubali 2: The Conclusion’ stunned everyone by raking in $10.1M, making it the highest grossing Indian film in the U.S. and the third highest foreign language debut behind 2002’s ‘Hero’ and 2006’s ‘Fearless’, both of which starred Jet Li.  $40K came from IMAX screenings, making it the biggest Indian/Foreign language IMAX opening in the U.S.  Five locations in the U.S. reported new records for three-day IMAX openings.  In its native India, ‘Bãhubali 2’ had the highest opening ever, with $50-60M and at one theater, there was a line 3 kilometers long to get in.

‘Bãhubali 2’ is the sequel to 2015’s ‘Bãhubali: The Beginning’ which made over $100M worldwide and is the third highest-grossing movie in India’s history.  This ‘Lord of the Rings’-like movie ended on a massive cliffhanger, with the main character being betrayed and stabbed by his close ally.  Both movies were filmed at the same time and the success and social media buzz of the first film fueled the fire for the second.

The-CircleAstoundingly, both unlikely hits ‘How To Be A Latin Lover’ and ‘Bãhubali 2: The Conclusion’ stomped over STX/EuropaCorp’s ‘The Circle’.  The sci fi thriller stars Emma Watson, who was riding high following ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and Tom Hanks, but will only scrape in $9.3M and earned a terrible “D+” CinemaScore.  EuropaCorp payed between $7-$8M to acquire this film, which cost about $18M to produce and spent roughly $22M on advertising.

This poor performance is largely being blamed on the casting of Hanks as the villain in this picture, but it also seems to indicate that star power is something of a myth.  Audiences don’t seem compelled to see a film just because of recognizable stars.

Elsewhere, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ took in $101.2M globally.  That’s 57% better than the first ‘Guardians’, which isn’t surprising since ‘Guardians’ was a pretty obscure property that did amazing business thanks largely to word of mouth and social media.  Perhaps even more impressive, in some markets, ‘Guardians 2’ opened even better than ‘Captain America: Civil War’ which as we all know was basically ‘Avengers 3’ AND introduced Tom Holland as the new in-Marvel Universe Spider-Man.

It will open in the U.S. next weekend.

Here is this weekend’s Top Five:

  1. The Fate of the Furious (Universal) – $19.4M
  2. How To Be A Latin Lover (Lionsgate/Pantelion) – $12M
  3. Bãhubali 2: The Conclusion (Great India Films) – $10.1M
  4. The Circle (STX/EuropaCorp) – $9.3M
  5. The Boss Baby (20th Century Fox/Dreamworks Animation) – $9M

‘Guardians 2’ is expected to make between $100-$150M when it opens in the U.S. It has already earned an 89% freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Check back to see how things pan out!

Source: Deadline