Vin Diesel and company continued their dominance over the North American box office, fending off two new releases that debuted respectfully. In its third lap, Furious 7 topped the box office with an estimated $29.1 million, a drop of 51% from last weekend. That is a third weekend now that’s almost as good as American Sniper ($30.7 million), a film that will finish just shy of the $350 million mark.
Furious 7 is very close to surpassing the three-century mark in North America, with $294.4 million so far, but with hefty drops the last two weekends and Avengers: Age of Ultron set to assemble massive audiences in 12 days, the film will need more gas in its tank to reach the $350 million mark.
Regardless, even if the sixth sequel doesn’t hit a threshold in North America that no film from 2014 was able to, its worldwide grosses already have. A $1.15 billion take worldwide means that after just 17 days of release, Furious 7 is already the seventh largest international grosser of all-time. Furthermore, jaw-dropping $250.5 million take in China after just one week in release indicates this will soon be the biggest moneymaker in that country’s history. There is still a lot of money left to earn around the world and the film could ultimately double Fast and Furious 6‘s $788.7 million in earnings.
Behind in second place, but not by much, was Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. The critically reviled comedy debuted with $24 million, a solid number considering it has been more than six years since the film’s predecessor opened to $31.8 million. With a $30 million budget, it is hard to imagine Sony is too upset with that finish. Among other Kevin James comedies, that was above Zookeeper‘s opening ($20.1 million) and more than double that of Here Comes the Boom ($11.8 million). Still, with laughable reviews and a mediocre B- CinemaScore, the film should not see legs similar to the first one, which closed with $146.3 million. Sony will probably be happy to get to half of the predecessor’s original total.
In third place with solid but far from spectacular results was buzzy Internet thriller Unfriended. The R-rated fright flick opened with an estimated $16 million, much higher than its small budget but a far cry from the expected heights after the film’s trailer became something of an online sensation. It boasted strong reviews for a horror film yet its premise primarily targeted teens that were too young to buy a ticket. Jason Blum was an executive producer on Unfriended, and the film debuted between the launches of his other modest thrillers from the past half-year, The Boy Next Door ($14.9 million) and Ouija ($19.9 million).