'Furious 7' Sets New Box Office Record with $143.6 Million Weekend Take

9:05 AM EDT 4/6/2015 by Kara Michelle, Celebeat Reporter

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Furious 7, the seventh installment in the Fast & Furious film series, raced into theaters this Easter weekend, smashing box office records with its $143.6 million domestic earnings, the highest opening weekend in April history. The sequel also took in over $240.4 million internationally, the biggest international opening in Universal Studio's history, with a worldwide tally of $384 million in just the first weekend alone according to Movie Web. Furious 7 also becomes the top opening in the Fast & Furious film series history, surpassing 2013's Fast & Furious 6's opening weekend gross of $97.3 million internationally and $162 million internationally.

The sequel was the No. 1 movie in 64 international territories, 26 of which were the highest-grossing opening weekends in those countries' history, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Malaysia, Mexico, Middle East, Romania, Taiwan, Thailand and Venezuela.

According to CNN, movie's success was driven by minority audiences: 25% of the weekend's ticket buyers were white, 37% were Hispanic, 24% were African American, and 10% were Asian. Also, 44% of the film's moviegoers were reportedly under the age of 25. Paul Dergarabedian, a box office analyst for Rentrak, told the business news site: "The drawing power of the franchise some 14 years since the first installment is nothing short of miraculous. The enthusiasm on the part of the audience for these characters and the fast-paced world in which they live has not diminished one bit." He also added: "There is no question that this massive surge in sales can be largely attributed to the profound desire on the part of the fans to see Paul in his final performance."

Directed by James Wan from a screenplay written by Chris Morgan, the film is set to take place just after Fast & Furious 6. Events will be shown unfolding as a result of a revenge plot that will be hatched by Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) for the death of his brother Owen in London.

After defeating Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) and his men in Fast & Furious 6, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O'Connor (Paul Walker) and the rest of the crew are finally able to return to the United States where they were about to live the normal life again they wanted, but that is until Owen's older brother, Ian, came along.

Ian is seeking revenge for the death of his brother, putting Dominic and the entire crew in danger once more. After learning of Han's death, the crew sets out to find the man who killed one of their own, before he finds them first. As seen in Fast & Furious 6, Han was killed after his car has hit hard by another car. The other car's driver walks away from the scene and calls Dominic, leaving him a message: "You don't know me. You're about to."

"Brian O'Conner," the character portrayed by Paul Walker who died on November 30, 2013, in a tragic car accident before the film's completion, was allowed to retire from the crew and was given a fitting, peaceful send off from the franchise. His unfinished scenes in the movie have been shot using CGI for his face and voice and his brothers Caleb and Cody as stands-in for his body.

Aside from Vin Diesel and the late Paul Walker, the Furious 7 cast also have stars Dwayne Johnson (Luke Hobbs), Michelle Rodriguez (Letty Ortiz), Jordana Brewster (Mia Toretto), Lucas Black (Sean Boswell), Tyrese Gibson (Roman Pearce) and Ludacris (Tej Parker) returning to reprise their original roles. They will be joined by an additional cast which includes Statham, Kurt Russel, Ronda Roussey, Ali Fazal, Tony Jaa, Djimon Hounsou and Romeo Santos. 

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