The car racing action movie "Furious 7" has officially become the biggest-grossing film ever in China, raking in a haul of two billion yuan (U.S.$323 million) in 15 days.
The previous record holder was "Transformers: Age of Extinction," directed by Michael Bay, which took in 1.98 billion yuan (US$318.9 million) in China. But "Furious 7" clearly shows how great the potential of the Chinese market is as it has rapidly grown into the second-largest film market in the world.
"Furious 7" is also the first film ever screened in China to pass the two billion yuan mark. China's largest movie industry tracking organization, Box Office, also mentioned that the movie's North American box office gross so far is estimated at US$320 million, though the film's release date in the United States was one week earlier than in China. It is the second time that a Hollywood blockbuster has earned more money in China than in the U.S. The precedent, again, was "Transformers: Age of Extinction."
The film, directed by James Wan -- an Australian film director of Malaysian Chinese descent -- smashed all the Chinese box office records along the way, including the record for the highest midnight box office sales in China with 50.94 million yuan (US$8.2 million) and both the opening day and single day sales records with 410 million yuan (US$66.04 million).
According to calculations by QQ.com, given box office income distribution rules, the film's production companies -- including primary producer Universal Pictures and China Film Group -- will take away 458.5 million yuan (US$74 million) in net income.
"Furious 7" will see no clear heavyweight rivals until May 12, the date of the Chinese release of another monster Hollywood blockbuster, "Avengers: Age of Ultron."
Film industry observers in China said that sentiment over Paul Walker's death has also contributed hugely to the film's phenomenal box office gross. Walker died in a car accident on Nov. 30, 2013.
"Furious 7" may eventually end up with more than 2.3 billion yuan (US$371.2 million) in box office sales, a major milestone in China. Observers of China's film industry are unsure what other film will be able to challenge the blockbuster's stellar box office performance.
Universal has announced that "Furious 8," the next installment of the "Fast and Furious" franchise, will be released on April 14, 2017. It was reported that the new film will include scenes that take place in Hong Kong.