‘Furious 7′ is No. 1 for third straight week

April 20 05:13 2015

Furious 7 continues to roll at the box office, cruising to victory for the third weekend in a row with $29 million and a domestic total of $294.4 million. The final film of the turbo-charged franchise to star the late Paul Walker passed the $1 billion mark globally on Friday after just 17 days of release, a new record for the fastest sprint to the box office milestone. Mega-hits such as The Avengers and Avatar as well as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, took 19 days to cross this hallowed $1 billion mark, according to Rentrak.635650374398696826-AP-GAMES-FAST-AND-FURIOUS-71129022

“Furious 7 is a global phenomenon that made hitting the billion-dollar mark look easy,” says Paul Dergarabedian, senior analyst for Rentrak. “Audiences have a true emotional connection to this movie and a big part of that is support for Paul Walker. But this film is also the true popcorn film experience. This is why people go to the theater to take a ride like this.” Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 wheeled into a second-place finish with $24 million. The follow-up to the 2009 surprise hit Paul Blart: Mall Cop, starring Kevin James as a Segway-riding security officer, was looted by critics who gave the sequel an eye-popping 0% score on RottenTomatoes.com.

Not one of the reviewers on the site gave it a positive review. Audiences gave the comedy a more forgiving B-minus grade on CinemaScore. Mall Cop 2 was also a hit with younger audiences, especially. Rentrak’s audience survey showed that viewers under 18 gave it 4½ out of five stars on the likability index. With an estimated $30 million budget, this might not be the last screen outing for the slap-stick mall cop.

“Paul Blart just makes money even if everyone ridicules it,” says Jeff Bock, box office analyst for Exhibitor Relations. “It doesn’t matter what critics say for these kinds of films, there’s a place for silly family comedies. We might just get a Paul Blart trilogy yet.” The horror film Unfriended took third place with its tech-heavy twist on the teenage slasher film. The Blumhouse Production took $16 million with a micro-budget of an estimated $1 million.