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‘Furious 8’ Drives to $135 Million Two-Day Box Office in China

Variety logo Variety 4/15/2017 Patrick Frater
© Provided by Variety

The Fate of the Furious” accelerated through further records at the Chinabox office on Saturday.

Known locally as “The Fast and the Furious 8,” the film had scored some $67 million (RMB465 million) by 11 pm on its second day of release. That is a record for a single day, and beats the opening day record “Furious 8” set on Friday.

The film managed $56 million on Friday and had midnight screenings worth a further $8.4 million on the evening of Thursday into Friday. They all add to a cumulative score of $135 million (RMB934 million) according to local data service China Box Office.

In another footnote for the record books, “Furious 8” is playing from the widest ever release in China. Local sources report that it played 159,000 shows on Friday, with a per screen average of $1,600.

The previous instalment in the “Furious” franchise was briefly the highest grossing film of all time in China, with a score of RMB2.43 billion. (That figure was previously reported as $380 million, but is worth $351 million at current rates of exchange.) The two day score represents 38% of that total.

The success of “Furious 8” poses interesting problems for Chinese box office regulators, who remain interventionist. The return of crowds in theaters is great news for exhibition firms which have seen audiences decline since mid-2016. But “Furious 8” is another 2017 victory for Hollywood that will make it ever harder for regulators to this year massage the market to ensure that Chinese films have the majority share.

Industry observers in 2015 suggested that “Furious 7” could have gone further had its run not been halted, without extension, after the regulated four weeks. In contrast, Chinese-made “Monster Hunt” was allowed many months in theaters to overtake “Furious 7” and take the all-comers box office record.

On the other hand, the strong performance by Hollywood movies in Chinese theaters this year makes it easier for Chinese negotiators to rebuff calls for changes to the import quota regime.

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