“The Fate of the Furious” surpassed Star Wars for the biggest box-office debut in history

If you race them, they will watch.
If you race them, they will watch.
Image: Reuters/Eduardo Munoz
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Regardless of cultural differences, it seems almost anyone can get behind explosions and fast cars.

The Fate of the Furious, the eighth chapter in the petrol-powered Fast and Furious franchise, was released in more than 60 territories over the weekend and swiftly rose to the top of the box office in all of them, according to Box Office Mojo. The monstrous international debut drove the film to a $532.5 million three-day worldwide opening, the biggest ever, surpassing the $529 million record set by Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015.

That’s far more than the $380 million that analysts had predicted, which would have trailed the previous installment, Furious 7.

Gearheads in China, the world’s second-largest box office, made all the difference. There, The Fate of the Furious had the biggest three-day opening weekend of all-time with an estimated $190 million.

The Force Awakens, meanwhile, wasn’t released in China until Jan. 9, 2016, roughly three weeks after it premiered in places like the US and UK in 2015. The movie grossed just $124 million during its entire run. Star Wars doesn’t have the same cachet in China that it has in Western markets. And movies that are more recognizably American don’t play as well there.

Over-the-top action thrillers like The Fate of the Furious, which finds the gang in a race against a submarine and features the fastest tank in the worldthrive in that market. The Fast and Furious films are exceedingly adored globallyThe Fate of the Furious had the largest openings in Argentina, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Israel, Lebanon, Malaysia, Middle East, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Portugal, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, and Vietnam, too.