‘Furious 7’ Rolls to 4th Straight Week Atop U.S Box Office

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“Furious 7” led the U.S. box office for the fourth straight weekend, setting up a showdown with the next “Avengers” movie for the top pick of moviegoers.

The car-heist drama from Universal Pictures collected $17.8 million in ticket sales in U.S. and Canadian theaters, Rentrak Corp. said Monday in a statement. “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is certain to be No. 1 next weekend, after taking $201.2 million from international audiences in its debut overseas.

“Furious 7” is the first movie since 2012’s “The Hunger Games” to hold the top spot for four straight weeks. Releasing the film in the typically quiet period ahead of the May 1 start of the summer box-office season has yielded dividends -- global ticket sales for “Furious 7” total more than $1.3 billion, according to Universal. On Thursday, Universal said the eighth installment would arrive in April 2017.

“The excitement of this ride in the theater for two hours -- you just feel like you’re getting the biggest bang for your buck,” said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst at Rentrak, in a telephone interview Sunday. “People are going to feel like that about ‘Avengers’ as well.”

“Furious 7,” which stars Vin Diesel and pays tribute to Paul Walker, the actor who died in a car accident while the film was in production, has grossed $320.1 million in the U.S., making it the biggest movie of the year, both domestically and worldwide. Globally, it is now the fifth-highest grossing movie ever, according to Box Office Mojo.

“Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2,” from Sony Corp., held on to second place with $14.8 million, bringing its total to $43.2 million after two weekends.

‘Avengers Looming’

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” starts screening in North America on May 1 after topping box-office sales in every territory where it opened this week.

The sequel may garner more than $200 million in its opening weekend in the U.S., Dergarabedian said. The first “Avengers” holds the best-ever ranking for an opening weekend with $207 million in 2012.

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. released “The Age of Adaline,” a romantic drama starring Blake Lively, this weekend. The film, which generated $13.2 million in its debut to place third, cost $25 million to make, according to Imdb.com.

Freak Accident

Adaline Bowman, played by Lively, is left unable to age by a freak accident and stuck at 29 years old for almost eight decades. Bowman leads a lonely life, hiding her secret, but her passion is reawakened when she meets philanthropist Ellis Jones, played by Michiel Huisman. A meeting with his parents threatens to unveil the truth. The film also stars Harrison Ford and Ellen Burstyn.

“The Age of Adaline” garnered a mixed reception by critics, registering 53 percent positive reviews at Rottentomatoes.com.

“Everything is just a little off: the plot is resolved too tidily, and Lively appears ill at ease,” Stephanie Zacharek wrote in a review for the Village Voice.

Another new release, “Little Boy,” is a drama from Open Road Films. It garnered $2.8 million on its debut, according to Rentrak.

“Ex-Machina,” a thriller about a secret experiment to create sentient robots, expanded to 1,255 screens after receiving glowing reviews. The movie pulled in $5.3 million, bringing its total to $6.8 million.

The film, from production company A24, marks the first time writer Alex Garland has taken the directing chair. Garland wrote the novel “The Beach,” and the critically acclaimed zombie apocalypse movie “28 Days Later.”

Weekend sales for the top 10 films fell 18 percent to $80.1 million from a year earlier, Rentrak said. Sales for the year to date have increased 3.7 percent to $3.23 billion.

The following table has U.S. movie box-office figures provided by studios to Rentrak. The amounts are based on actual ticket sales for April 24 to April 26.

                  Rev.    Pct.           Avg./     Total
   Movie         (mln)    Chg. Theaters  Theater   (mln)  Wks
 1 Furious 7     $17.8    -39    3,808   $4,680   $320.1    4
 2 Paul Blart     14.8    -38    3,633    4,067     43.2    2
 3 Age Of Adaline 13.2     --    2,991    4,414     13.2    1
 4 Home            8.0    -25    3,311    2,418    153.5    5
 5 Unfriended      6.2    -61    2,775    2,220     25.1    2
 6 Ex Machina      5.3    570    1,255    4,263      6.8    3
 7 Longest Ride    4.3    -39    3,140    1,356     30.3    3
 8 Get Hard        3.8    -24    2,276    1,652     83.9    5
 9 Monkey Kingdom  3.4    -25    2,012    1,711     10.1    2
10 Woman In Gold   3.4    -27    1,981    1,699     21.5    4

Top 10 Films Grosses

This Week Year Ago Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $80.1 $97.5 -18

Year-to-date Revenue

2015 2014 YTD YTD Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $3,227 $3,113 +3.7 Source: Rentrak Corp.
(Updates with final weekend totals.)
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