With parts of it filmed in Abu Dhabi, and the franchise losing one of its lead cast members in a fatal accident, it was hardly surprising that Furious 7 would be one of the most eagerly-anticipated cinema releases of the year.
However, it now looks like the action flick could become the United Arab Emirates’ best-selling movie of all time.
Since its global release at the beginning of April, the seventh instalment of The Fast and the Furious franchise has so far raked in more than $1 billion worldwide.
In the UAE, reported demand for the movie has been exceptional, with cinema chain VOX selling in excess of 13,500 advanced tickets before the release and in three weeks, the movie has taken in Dhs 34,836,000,($9 million) according to Gulf News reporting on April 20.
“This movie broke box-office records across the UAE, outperforming Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and Avatar,” said Michelle Walsh, marketing director at VOX Cinemas.
“For VOX, it was our biggest opening week ever, and we also had the highest admissions from online and mobile bookings, proving that everyone knew they needed to plan in advance to reserve their seats for this movie. Movie sessions for this movie started from 9.30am through to after midnight.”
Although she declined to reveal exact box-office figures, when asked if this was the UAE’s best-selling film of the year so far, she responded: “Yes, and for all the UAE cinema chains.”
According to figures early this week by Box Office Mojo – and prior to the release of Furious 7 – Taken 3 enjoyed the biggest opening weekend in January, making $4.04 million.
The next best-selling opening weekend was last month, with The Divergent Series: Insurgent making $2.7 million.
Looking at the best-selling movies of all time in the UAE, James Cameron’s Avatar leads the pack with $7.3 million, while Tom Cruise’s Dubai-shot action film Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol made $6.4 million.
Directed by James Wan and starring Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham and the late Paul Walker, Furious 7 was shot in several locations worldwide, including Abu Dhabi.
Noura al-Kaabi, CEO of Media Zone Authority Abu Dhabi and twofour54 – which facilitated the shooting of Furious 7 in the UAE capital – told Al Arabiya News: “Bringing Furious 7 to Abu Dhabi was a great opportunity to not only generate international exposure for Abu Dhabi, but to also provide young Emiratis with work experience, which could help them to become the region’s future filmmakers.”
While taking a few days off from filming, Walker, 40, was killed in a car crash on Nov. 30, 2013, in southern California.
Later that week, Universal announced an indeterminate hiatus on the production, citing a desire to speak with his family before deciding what to do with the film.
The seventh instalment was finished using previous footage and stand-ins, including Walker’s two brothers, with the decision to ‘retire’ Walker’s character Brian O’Conner.SHOW MORE