No American movie has ever earned more in local currency in the massive Chinese film market.
Universal’s The Fate of the Furious is now Hollywood’s top-grossing film ever in China.
On Saturday, the latest installment in the locally beloved action franchise clocked in at 2.44 billion yuan (about $350 million) at the Chinese box office, overtaking its predecessor Furious 7, which earned an historic 2.42 billion yuan in 2015.
After its opening on April 14, Fast 8, directed by F. Gary Grey and starring franchise mainstays Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson, smashed China’s all-time opening-weekend records for an international film with a huge debut of $190 million.
Midway through its third weekend in North America, Fate of the Furious was expected to stay atop the chart with an estimated $18.5 million for a domestic total of $192 million through Sunday. Globally, the film hast just crossed $1 billion mark.
Prior to Fast 8‘s release, many analysts wondered how much of Furious 7‘s huge success should be attributed to a “farewell Paul Walker” effect. The franchise favorite died in a violent car crash during a hiatus in shooting Furious 7 in 2013, making the seventh installment the last title in which he would appear. Thus, Fast 8‘s chances of taking its predecessor’s title were considered quite uncertain.
In U.S. currency, Furious 7 still remains slightly ahead. Due to a weaker dollar at the time, Furious 7‘s 2.42 billion yuan total was valued at about $390 million in 2015 (today it would be just under $350 million). But Fast 8 will continue to add to its local currency record until Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 opens in China on May 5, so it may yet top Furious 7 in unadjusted U.S dollar terms too.