A South India sensation, a Hispanic-focused comedy and the highest-grossing film ever directed by an African-American made up the top three films in North America on a culturally diverse box office weekend.
As expected, it was another runaway weekend for The Fate of the Furious, which took No. 1 for the third straight week with $19.4 million US, according to studio estimates Sunday.
The Universal Pictures release also throttled past $1 billion globally, and passed its predecessor, Furious 7, to become the highest-grossing imported film in China with $361 million.
The Fast and the Furious franchise, the latest of which is helmed by F. Gary Gray, has always been held up as a model of the diverse blockbuster, given its cast led by Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson.
But the smaller films that trailed it over the weekend also reflected the box-office might of often underserved audiences.
In second domestically with $12 million was Eugenio Derbez’s comedy, How to Be a Latin Lover. The film is easily the biggest success yet for Pantelion, the Latino-oriented joint venture of Lionsgate and Grupo Televisa.
“This weekend is marked by an incredible amount of multicultural content.”
– Paul Dergarabedian, comScore media analyst
How to Be a Latin Lover co-stars Salma Hayek, Rob Lowe and Kristen Bell. But its top draw is Derbez, whose Instructions Not Included was the highest-grossing Spanish-language film in North America in 2013.
In third was Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, a so-called Tollywood (Telugu language) film from South India, which pulled in a remarkable $10.1 million despite playing on just 420 screens.The Fate of the Furious played on more than 4,000.
Baahubali 2 even bested a pair of Hollywood’s biggest stars in Emma Watson and Tom Hanks. Their terribly reviewed thriller The Circle, distributed by STX Films on behalf of EuropaCorp, opened with $9.3 million.
Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore, said such global weekends at the box office will become more common.
“In what is a slow and would otherwise be an unremarkable weekend, this is a really interesting lineup of films,” said Dergarabedian. “This is the final weekend before the summer season kicks off and the blockbusters hit theatres. But this weekend is marked by an incredible amount of multicultural content. It reflects the world that we’re living in.”
The summer movie season begins next week with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. With the Marvel behemoth on deck, few new films were released on an otherwise quiet weekend.