Fast & Furious 7 just took a staggering amount of money at the box office

Film serves as a tribute to late lead actor Paul Walker

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The Independent Culture

Fast & Furious 7 opened in US cinemas at the weekend (where it goes by the more punchy name 'Furious 7'), taking a record-breaking $143 million at the box office.

To put that into context, Fifty Shades of Grey, one of the most talked about films of the year, only took $85 million when it opened in February.

The Furious franchise always rakes in ticket sales despite being a little long in the tooth, and with this sequel serving as a Paul Walker memorial and starring the always profitable Dwayne Johnson, it is set to make Universal a lot of money.

The $143 million mark makes it the ninth biggest domestic opening weekend of all time, behind Spider-Man 3 and The Hunger Games.

Furious 7 might turn out to be the biggest film of the year (bar Star Wars), though it's unlikely to be seeing any Oscars, no matter what Vin Diesel says.

The sequel has also already earned $240 million in international markets, a staggering turnaround when you consider that the third movie, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, only made $62 million.

"The drawing power of the franchise some 14 years since the first installment is nothing short of miraculous," said Paul Dergarabedian, a box office analyst for Rentrak (RENT).

"The enthusiasm on the part of the audience for these characters and the fast-paced world in which they live has not diminished one bit."

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