'Furious 7's' massive China haul will exceed its U.S. box office

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"Furious 7" will be the second record-breaking American movie blockbuster to make more at the box office in China than it will in North America.

Universal's action sequel, which has taken in more than $1.32 billion globally, over the weekend became the highest-grossing film ever in China, with $326 million in 15 days of release. That's more than the $319 million previous record-holder "Transformers: The Age of Extinction" rolled up for Paramount last year.

It's also more than "Furious 7" has made in North America, where it has brought in $320 million over 24 days. "Transformers: Age of Extinction" also exceeded its domestic total of $245 million in 2014. Other films including the Sly Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Escape Plan" and Disney's "Need for Speed" outstripped their domestic grosses in China, but they weren't hits in North America.

The domestic numbers for "Furious 7" could in theory catch up on the Chinese returns since it will play for weeks here, and will be out of China on May 12. That's when "Avengers: The Age of Ultron" opens there, which means "Furious 7" has another week in China without the Disney-Marvel juggernaut, and the gap will likely widen.

In other words, when it comes to the shifting global box office, the future is now.

"We're seeing what we've predicted for a couple of year happening right in front of us now, and we'll keep seeing it because of the incredible growth of the market there," BoxOffice.com senior analyst Phil Contrino said.

Universal's President of International Distribution Duncan Clark, who oversaw the foreign rollout of "Furious 7, agreed. He said the numbers drove home just how fast the expansion was happening, and he didn't think it would stop.

"The growth is stunning, even since 'Fast and Furious 6' in 2013," Clark told TheWrap. "There are 26,000 screens there, with more than 15,000 built in the last six years. The Chinese market has really embraced the whole cinema-going culture, so the growth is not stopping here."

He attributed the outsized success of "Furious 7" to the quality of the film, which was well-reviewed there, and the foundation laid by 2009's "Fast and Furious,"which grossed $35 million, and "Fast and Furious 6," which grossed $55 million there in 2013.

But two other factors took it into the stratosphere, Clark said: visits by cast members Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and Jason Statham in March (photo top) and an unusual opening date.

The actors got a very warm reception and their visit prior to the opening was heavily covered by the local media.

"You could just feel the buzz, at every event we went to," he said. "It was like they were rock stars."

Anticipation built by the huge global opening of "Furious 7" the weekend before helped as well. Its April 12 opening date was unusual in that it was a Sunday. That meant Saturday night previews, which took in $6 million and provided a great launch pad for Sunday, when it set an opening day record for China with $68.6 million.

The success of "Furious 7" also provided a great debut for Universal's Beijing office. The action epic was its first release since the studio's China team, headed by Joe Yan, opened the doors to its new home last year.

"We were always quietly optimistic and confident," Clark said, "but we never expected to get to this level."

Read original story 'Furious 7's' Massive China Haul Will Exceed Its U.S. Box Office At TheWrap

Click through these photos in remembrance of Paul Walker:

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'Furious 7's' massive China haul will exceed its U.S. box office
PAUL WALKER, an actor perhaps best known for his roles in the 'Fast and Furious' films died in a fiery car crash. He was 40 years old. Los Angeles County Sheriff found a car engulfed in flames when they responded to a report of a collision in the community of Valencia Two people who were found in the car were pronounced dead at the scene, Walker being a passenger in a friend's car, the accident occurred due to speed. Pictured: Jan. 19, 2006 - Actor PAUL WALKER stars in ' 2 Fast 2 Furious ''. (Credit Image: © Globe Photos/ZUMAPRESS.com via Alamy)
File - PAUL WALKER, an actor perhaps best known for his roles in the 'Fast and Furious' films died in a fiery car crash. He was 40 years old. Los Angeles County Sheriff found a car engulfed in flames when they responded to a report of a collision in the community of Valencia Two people who were found in the car were pronounced dead at the scene, Walker being a passenger in a friend's car, the accident occurred due to speed. Pictured: Sept. 21, 2005 - Westwood, California, U.S. - Actor PAUL WALKER at the 'Into The Blue' Los Angeles Premiere held at Mann's Village Theatre. (Cre
File - PAUL WALKER, an actor perhaps best known for his roles in the 'Fast and Furious' films died in a fiery car crash. He was 40 years old. Los Angeles County Sheriff found a car engulfed in flames when they responded to a report of a collision in the community of Valencia Two people who were found in the car were pronounced dead at the scene, Walker being a passenger in a friend's car, the accident occurred due to speed. Pictured: Oct 09, 2006; Los Angeles, California, U.S. - Actor PAUL WALKER at the 'Flags Of Our Fathers' Los Angeles Premiere held at the Academy Of Motion
Sept. 1, 2001 - Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England - PAUL WALKER.ACTOR..DEAUVILLE, FRANCE.01/09/2001.BM4A28C(Credit Image: © Globe Photos/ZUMAPRESS.com)
Apr 24, 2011 - Moscow, Russia - Actor PAUL WALKER attends the premier of Russian Premier of Fast & Furious 5 (Fast Five) in Oktyabr cinema theatre of Moscow. (Credit Image: © PhotoXpress/ZUMAPRESS.com)
File - PAUL WALKER, an actor perhaps best known for his roles in the 'Fast and Furious' films died in a fiery car crash. He was 40 years old. Los Angeles County Sheriff found a car engulfed in flames when they responded to a report of a collision in the community of Valencia Two people who were found in the car were pronounced dead at the scene, Walker being a passenger in a friend's car, the accident occurred due to speed. Pictured: Nov. 26, 2003 - Westwood, California, U.S. - Actor PAUL WALKER at the 'Timeline' World Premiere, benefitting Hollygrove, held at Mann National The
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 07: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME. MANDATORY CREDIT PHOTO BY DAVE M. BENETT/WIREIMAGE REQUIRED) Paul Walker (L) and Vin Diesel attend the World Premiere of 'Fast & Furious 6' at Empire Leicester Square on May 7, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 02: Vin Diesel and Jordana Brewster are seen filming 'Fast & Furious 7' on June 02, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by TSM/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 02: Caleb Walker is seen filming 'Fast & Furious 7' on June 02, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by TSM/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
Vin Diesel and Paul Walker in a scene from the film 'The Fast And The Furious', 2001. (Photo by Universal/Getty Images)
Vin Diesel and Paul Walker racing against each other in a scene from the film 'The Fast And The Furious', 2001. (Photo by Universal/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 6: (EUROPE AND AUSTRALASIA OUT) American actor Paul Walker poses at Woolloomooloo on September 6, 2001 in Sydney, Australia. Walker is in Sydney to promote his new film 'Fast and Furious'. (Photo by Sam Ruttyn/Newspix/Getty Images)
WESTWOOD, CA - JUNE 18: Actor Paul Walker attends 'The Fast and the Furious' Westwood Premiere on June 18, 2001 at the Mann Village Theatre in Westwood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Schauspieler Vin Diesel Stellt Den Kinofilm 'The Fast And The Furious' In Hamburg Vor . (Photo by Franziska Krug/Getty Images)
Tara Reid (Photo by Tony Barson/WireImage)
Michelle Rodriguez, Rob Cohen, Jordana Brewster, Paul Walker, Vin Diesel (Photo by Tony Barson Archive/WireImage)
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - JUNE 3: Actors Tyrese (L) and Paul Walker attend the world premiere of the film '2 Fast 2 Furious' on June 3, 2003 at Universal Studios, Hollywood. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - JUNE 3: Actors Tyrese, Devon Aoki and Paul Walker arrive at the premiere of '2 Fast 2 Furious' at the Universal Amphitheatre on June 3, 2003 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - JUNE 3: Actors Tyrese (L) and Paul Walker arrive at the premiere of '2 Fast 2 Furious' at the Universal Amphitheatre on June 3, 2003 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Paul Walker during The World Premiere of '2 Fast 2 Furious' at Universal Amphitheatre in Universal City, California, United States. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
LONDON - JUNE 9: American actors Paul Walker and Eva Mendes arrive at the UK premiere of the film '2 Fast 2 Furious' at the Warner Brothers Cinema West End on June 9, 2003 in London. (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON - JUNE 9: American actors Paul Walker and Eva Mendes arrive at the UK premiere of the film '2 Fast 2 Furious' at the Warner Brothers Cinema West End on June 9, 2003 in London. (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)
Eva Mendes and Paul Walker Promote '2 Fast 2 Furious' (Photo by Lalo Yasky/WireImage)
Paul Walker (Photo by Lalo Yasky/WireImage)
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