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‘Fate of the Furious’ stays on top

LOS ANGELES – “The Fate of the Furious” is racing to defend its title at the top of the box office, while a number of new releases including “The Promise” and “Unforgettable” are being left in the dust.

Universal’s eighth installment in the Fast and Furious franchise proved to be a global box office titan when it opened last weekend to a record-shattering $532.5 million. This time around looks to tell mostly the same story – while domestic grosses slipped 61% from its first to second weekend, the movie is still easily topping the box office with $38.7 million from 4,329 locations.

But slipping domestic earnings (and lower U.S. grosses than “Furious 7,” which pulled over $250 million in its first two weekends versus “Fate’s” current sum of $163.6 million) are majorly overshadowed by the movie’s international appeal. A bankable, diverse cast including Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel and Charlize Theron is leading the film, directed by F. Gary Gray, to a two-frame global total of $744.8 million and worldwide sum of $908.4 million.

While studios wait for summer season to commence, there are no surprise hits to come of this weekend’s releases. Warner Bros.’ “Unforgettable” seems to have slipped audiences’ minds, earning $4.8 million in its first weekend from 2,417 theaters.

The directorial debut of Denise Di Novi stars Katherine Heigl as a scorned ex-wife, and Rosario Dawson as a woman who is newly engaged to the same man. In his review for Variety, critic Peter Debruge lauded Heigl’s “terrific” performance, and wrote that her casting “savvily exploits the actress’s prickly reputation within the industry.” (Reuters)

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