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The eighth installment in the “Fast and the Furious” is on the path to becoming the biggest worldwide debut of all time, besting both “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Jurassic World”.

”The Fate of the Furious” has many of the returning stars like Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese, and Ludacris.

Universal Pictures on Wednesday estimated that “The Fate of the Furious” would earn a record $532.5 million worldwide over the holiday weekend, thanks to a particularly robust showing in 63 territories, including China. If the figures hold, it will just inch past the previous record holder, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” which launched to $529 million in December of 2015 without China.

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An estimated $100.2 million of the global total comes from 4,310 North American theaters — a second best for the franchise and enough to easily top the domestic charts, but well below the $147.2 million opening of “Furious 7” in 2015.

The studio has not released an official production budget, but it is reported to be in the pricey $250 million range.

“Furious 7” had a groundswell of additional interest due to the death of actor Paul Walker, who played a cop turned street racer Brian O’Conner, a lead character in six of the films. He died in a car crash while the film was still in production.

“The Fate of the Furious” has many of the returning stars like Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese, and Ludacris, but has added some new elements behind the camera in director F. Gary Gray and in front of the camera with Charlize Theron. The $100.2 million is slightly below analyst expectations for the film. Audiences were 58 percent male, 50 percent under the age of 25 and diverse (41 percent were Caucasian, 26 percent Hispanic and 19 percent African-American).

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The studio has not released an official production budget, but it is reported to be in the pricey $250 million range. However, an A Cinema Score from exit polls suggests that it will have sufficient staying power. The “Fast and the Furious” is a global juggernaut for Universal Pictures, which plans two additional pictures. With the addition of “Fast 8,” the franchise has earned an estimated $4.4 billion globally.

“It is a franchise that has adapted and changed over the years and is as relevant in 2017 as it was in 2001,” noted Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for comScore. “The ‘Furious’ franchise perfectly represents what that global audience is all about. They’re poised perfectly for installments 9 and 10 to do very well. It’s still firing on all cylinders.”

This piece was first published in Hollywood Access.

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