By Daniel Loria

It only took 17 days for Furious 7 to become the first $1 billion worldwide hit of the year, the fastest any film has ever taken to reach that mark.

2015 is truly shaping up to be the big box office year many industry analysts expected, but the sheer speed the latest Fast & Furious film reached the vaunted benchmark remains to be surprising. This marks the first time a Universal release reaches the $1 billion global mark in studio history, considering Jurassic Park only reached its $1.044 billion tally following a 3D re-release in 2013. 

The power of the overseas box office contributed $735.2 million from 17 days in release as of Friday. The film has grossed $273.7 million in North America in just 15 days. This puts Furious 7 at a global $1.009 million with Saturday and Sunday numbers still to come. As a whole, the Fast & Furious franchise has grossed a total of $3.392 billion through all seven installments.  

"We're incredibly proud to watch Fast & Furious take its place as the only original live-action franchise to reach these kinds of results at the box office. Our cast, filmmakers and all of our Universal and Fast family deserve credit for working so hard to make Furious 7 a huge success and we look forward to continuing to watch the film grow over the next few weeks," commented Nick Carpou, President of Domestic Distribution at Universal, on the film's success.

"What started as a small film about the street racing sub-culture of East Los Angeles has become a global phenomenon with Furious 7 shattering records in so many territories around the globe. We're thrilled to celebrate this accomplishment with our colleagues and distribution partners throughout the world, who have made these extraordinary results possible," added Duncan Clark, President of International Distribution for Universal.

Furious 7 also holds record for the second-biggest worldwide debut of all time with $397.2 million (behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2); highest-grossing domestic and overseas openings in studio history ($147.2M and $250M respectively); biggest April and Easter opening; the highest domestic opening since November 2013; the all-time highest opening weekend of all time in 29 territories; the highest grossing Universal film of all time in 26 territories; and the biggest opening day of all time in China with $63.5 million, beating the previous record holder, Transformers 4's $36 million, by a wide margin.  

"I am incredibly proud of the motion picture team at Universal, the cast and filmmakers of the FAST & FURIOUS for all they have done to take our original idea and evolve it into a huge, global, blockbuster franchise." said Ron Meyer, Vice Chairman of NBCUniversal, in an official blogpost.

The record-breaking success begs a follow-up question...

Can any other 2015 beat this record and reach the $1 billion global mark in less than 17 days?

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By Alex Edghill

Friday Morning Update: First let's start with The Avengers: Age Of Ultron which finally took over top spot this past weekend. Hardly a surprise since its release is now just two weeks away and the marketing for the film has kicked into high gear, but still nice to see. It had just over 260,000 tweets on the week which was mighty impressive, and a number which we could see rise to over 400,000 this time next week given the increase in buzz it has been seeing. The record on the year for weekly tweets of a film in pre-release is actually owned by the same Age Of Ultron which had 418k tweets back in the beginning of March after its last big trailer reveal. I'm thinking that number might be in trouble this time next week.

Spectre waned as expected over the past week as it fell by over 65%, almost making way for the latest hot ticket - Star Wars: The Force Returns. With its second trailer, Star Wars had over 68,000 tweets yesterday, and so far today it is at over 90k tweets and should end up well north of six figures. Its first trailer had 142k back in December so its very impressive to see it so very close to that number with its second. Fitting to have this and Avengers duking it out over the next week because no other film should come close to their box office totals on the year.

Ant-Man also had a strong showing for its second trailer this past week as it generated over 44,000 tweets, very close to the 55,356 tweets its first trailer generated back in January of the year. A far cry from Avengers and even Deadpool's first picture reveal but considering that it comes after Age Of Ultron and exists in the same cinematic universe it has a lot going for it. Captain America and Thor debuted their franchises with ~$65 million a few years ago prior to Avengers. Considering that Ant-Man is a fringe character and not nearly as well known means that anything in the range of $50 million should be very favorable for a first film in the franchise.

 Twitter Top 10 Movies for the week of April 10th to April 16th

Date Movie Tweets Rank Change
5/01/15 Avengers: Age of Ultron 261,116 1 (+1) 44.30%
11/06/15 Spectre 94,910 2 (-1) -66.38%
12/18/15 Star Wars: The Force Awakens 87,985  (+12) 340.87%
7/17/15 Ant-Man 68,724 4 (+20) 1503.08%
2/12/16 Deadpool 49,537 5 (-2) -47.34%

Subscribe to BoxOffice for more social media insights/coverage.

Please check the methodology page for information about our Twitter project or here for historic data.

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Los Angeles, CA, USA, April 17, 2015 - Michigan-based Emagine Entertainment Inc. (Emagine), has recently confirmed its commitment to a continued technology partnership with Vista Entertainment Solutions (Vista), a company of Vista Group International. Vista has been deployed throughout Emagine's cinema sites since 2002; the 13-year relationship makes Emagine Vista's longest standing customer in the USA.

Since opening their first site in 1997, Emagine now boasts 15,000+ seats and 76 screens across their nine sites. Recently launching Emagine Macomb in December 2014, the nine-screen, 1,070-seat venue is an impressive representation of the movie theatres of the future.

Paul Glantz, Co-Founder and Chairman of Emagine says, "This theatre is going to reinvent the movie-going experience for guests with 100% reserved seating, a full service bar, and in-theatre dining like you have never seen before. People will be treated to an evening of fantastic food and drink choices, and great movies, in an incredibly comfortable and intimate environment."

Emagine is recognized as being an innovator in the theatrical exhibition industry, having been the first theatre chain in the world to convert 100% to digital projection. With Vista the leading supplier of cinema management software worldwide, Emagine saw Vista's cutting edge products matching a mutual interest in the future of cinema technology. As Emagine's Managing Partner, Jon Goldstein, noted, "We've remained dedicated to the Vista platform due to the continued investment in state-of-the-art technology. In a rapidly changing world of customer behaviors and preferences, I believe Vista is the software company best positioned to meet our customers' expectations."

Vista USA President, Derek Forbes, comments, "We have absolutely enjoyed working with Paul Glantz, Jon Goldstein, and the team at Emagine for many years. Their continued leadership and innovation within the cinema industry is impressive and Vista is dedicated to assisting them maintain that top role. We very much look forward to our ongoing partnership."

About Vista Entertainment Solutions
Vista Entertainment Solutions Ltd (Vista) is the world-leader in cinema management software solutions with installations in over 60 countries across all continents and an estimated 38% global market share in the Large Cinema Circuit market. The Vista software product line is both integrated & scalable, suited to cinema exhibitor's operating 20+ screens and up to 100's of cinemas. Vista software comprises multiple software modules required to deliver optimal Box Office returns, total cinema management and both internal and external analysis and reporting.

A company of Vista Group International Ltd (NZX: VGL, ASX: VGI), Vista Entertainment Solutions is head-quartered in Auckland, New Zealand and has subsidiaries incorporated in Los Angeles, London, and Shanghai.

www.vista.co / www.vistagroup.co
Twitter @VistaNZ

About Emagine Entertainment, Inc.
Emagine Entertainment Inc.'s (Emagine) affiliates own and operate Cinema Hollywood in Birch Run, Clio Square Cinema in Clio, Emagine Theatres of Canton, Novi, Woodhaven, Rochester Hills and Royal Oak, as well as Star Lanes at Emagine Royal Oak. Emagine operates theatres with a combined 15,000+ seats and 80 screens. Emagine enjoys the honor and distinction of being named "Best Movie Theatre" by the Detroit Free Press, the Detroit News, and WDIV, for several consecutive years.

Twitter @EmagineTheatres

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Christie showcases solutions designed to inspire and entertain moviegoers, ensuring a sense of technology-driven wonder with every visit to the cinema

CINEMACON/LAS VEGAS - (April 17, 2015) - Christie®, the leader in creating and sharing the world's best visual and audio experiences, will showcase a wide range of cinema projection, immersive audio and digital-signage lobby solutions, designed to draw and captivate moviegoers at CinemaCon 2015, Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, April 20-24, in Booth 2203A.

"Christie has led the industry in the rollout of digital cinema projection solutions over the past decade, and it continues to be the ‘go-to innovator' for attendees of this pre-eminent gathering of exhibitors and professionals, who are engaged in creating and displaying the best in movies and alternative content," said Kathryn Cress, vice president, Global and Corporate Marketing, Christie.

"Our theme this year, which has struck a chord with our thousands of exhibitor customers across the globe, is ‘Christie has it - From the street to the screen,' reflecting Christie's ability to create immersive solutions that draw in and captivate moviegoers, influencing and engaging them from the moment they step into a theater lobby. This in turn will continue to drive revenue into our customers' pockets," added Cress.

Christie's offerings, which span the needs of independent exhibitors, drive-ins, film festivals and post-production studios, as well as global cinema chains, will be displayed at CinemaCon and include:

Christie® Experiential Networks - The Christie Experiential Network, offering new opportunities for engaging audiences with interactive digital content, will be a top draw. Members of the Christie THREE SIXTY team will be on-hand to answer customer and press questions about creative content and digital delivery;

3P and 6P 4K laser projection - Higher brightness, higher contrast, and REC.2020 color capability for the ultimate cinema experience on large-format, ‘premium' screens;

Christie Solaria Series - Lamp-based digital cinema projection in 2K, 4K and in 2D and 3D, on standard and large-format, ‘premium' screens;

Christie Xenolite® lamps - 99.999% uptime for ultimate reliability and efficiency;

Christie Vive AudioTM - Immersive cinema audio solutions using the latest audio technology that significantly outperforms legacy sound systems using older compression driver technology;

Christie SKA-3D - Still the Swiss army knife of audio and video processing, allowing seamless playback of 3D Blu-Ray content on a cinema projector, full cinema audio processing, complete with built-in crossovers and decoding for all major audio formats;

Digital signage and flat panels - Destined to bring any exhibitor's lobby to life with motion graphics, the hottest trailers and enticing concession selections.

On Monday, April 20, from 12-12:45pm in Palace Ballroom III, George Scheckel, Director of Business Development for Christie, will be participating in an industry discussion - "The three S's of the immersive cinema experience: Sight, sound and seats" - on how exhibitors can add value in the ever-evolving cinema space. (Note: An International day or press badge is required to attend the International Day events and presentations.)

Christie Partners With Industry Leaders at CinemaCon 2015
In addition to comprehensive solutions on display in Christie booth 2203A, a number of Christie partners will also be at CinemaCon, relying on Christie technology to anchor their own, innovative cinema solutions. These include:

Dolby VisionTM at CinemaCon - Attendees will be able to experience first-hand the wonders of Dolby Vision in the Colosseum throughout the show. Christie® and Dolby Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: DLB) announced in December 2014 that they had developed the proprietary Dolby Vision projection systems for Dolby CinemaTM. Dolby Vision uses high-dynamic-range (HDR) technology with enhanced color, leveraging two newly designed, proprietary high-frame-rate (HFR) capable Christie 4K laser projection heads that feature a highly customized and unique light path. Combined with Christie's 6P modular laser light sources, this technology delivers high-contrast images and ultra-brightness, which define the visual excellence of Dolby CinemaTM.

Recently AMC Theatres and Dolby Laboratories announced Dolby Cinema at AMC Prime with an installation plan of delivering up to 100 United States locations by 2024 beginning with four locations deployed by mid-May. The Dolby Vision laser projection component of Dolby Cinema was co-developed with Christie, as announced in December, 2014 (see http://bit.ly/1vsgYrG).

In addition to the Dolby Vision Christie laser projectors, four Christie Solaria CP4230 DLP Cinema® projectors will be in use for selected event screening in the Colosseum.

CJ Group, ScreenXTM and 4DX® - For attendees looking for something new in the cinema experience, CJ Group will be demonstrating its immersive ‘ScreenX' offering, using several additional Christie DLP projectors in the auditorium for side wall projection, at the AMC Town Square 18 complex in Las Vegas. This content will include trailers from upcoming Hollywood titles. Also, Christie Solaria projectors and the Christie Vive AudioTM line will be in CJ Group's 4DX 2003 booth at CinemaCon. The world's first 4D cinema for full feature films, 4DX is the ultimate in state of the art technology delivering a fully immersive cinematic experience with motion chairs and environmental effects such as wind, air, water, lightning, and scents to work in perfect synchronicity with the action on screen.

About Christie
Christie Digital Systems USA, Inc. is a global visual technologies company and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ushio, Inc., Japan, (JP:6925). Consistently setting the standards by being the first to market some of the world's most advanced projectors, complete system displays and audio solutions, Christie is recognized as one of the most innovative visual technology companies in the world. From retail displays to Hollywood, mission critical command centers to classrooms and training simulators, Christie display and audio solutions and projectors capture the attention of audiences around the world with dynamic and stunning images. Visit www.christiedigital.com for more information.

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Interview with Mitch Neuhauser, Managing Director, CinemaCon

by Daniel Loria

CinemaCon is once again starting with International Day; tell us what's in store from day one.

Our industry is truly global in nature and there are many issues and topics of importance and concern that are common to distributors in the domestic and international markets. There is still a need for the international community to gather as a group. There are matters that are specific to the international market, hence the reason we've continued with our International Day programming as a way to single out some of the executives and filmmakers in the international markets, hear updates on what's going on, specific to exhibition and distribution. We've put together what we think is pretty good International Day programming. We traditionally start off with two keynotes, one from exhibition and another from distribution, on what's going on in the industry: the good, the bad, the ugly, the past, the present, the future. From distribution we have Dave Hollis, executive vice president of distribution at Disney, and from exhibition we have Jerry Ye, vice president of Wanda. We have morning seminars, digital and social media programming; we're putting together a session in the afternoon on exhibition and distribution. We're delighted to be singling out Valmir Fernandes, the president of Cinemark International, with our Global Achievement in Exhibition award. We present something called the CinemaCon Passepartout award, which is being presented to Erlina Suharjono, the SVP Asia distribution for Warner Bros. Pictures International-she's someone who has been working tirelessly behind the scenes, very well respected by her peers throughout distribution and exhibition. We're honoring the filmmaker Baltasar Kormakur, the director of the upcoming film Everest, and Rentrak is presenting an award to 20th Century Fox International, last year's leader at the international box office. It's a jam-packed agenda, and we expect around 850 fully registered delegates for International Day.

Are there any specific trends or topics you'd like to highlight at this year's event?

First and foremost, the driving force behind our industry is product, and that's what studios bring to the table. We have six major studios on board with presentations on their upcoming slates: Sony, Disney, Fox, Universal, Paramount, and Warner Bros. Three of the studios will be screening feature films in their entirety: Disney will screen Pixar's Inside Out, Universal will screen Pitch Perfect 2, and Fox will screen Spy. We have a great cornerstone of programming from the studio standpoint. The next major piece to our puzzle is the trade show, which is once again a sellout. We need to keep on top of what's going on in equipment, concessions-what keeps our industry going.

Lunches are a great opportunity to hear industry leaders give talks and network with colleagues. What's on hand this year?

We're very excited about our lunches this year. Our Wednesday lunch has traditionally been filmmaker driven; in the past we've had Christopher Nolan, Ang Lee, Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone, Sam Raimi, Guillermo del Toro, James Cameron, George Lucas. This year our lunch will be focused on Clint Eastwood. We're going to honor him and include a one-on-one panel with him. In early March, American Sniper became the top-grossing film released in 2015, and it's really a phenomenon. What he's done is incredible; this 84-year-old icon has unified the country with one film. We couldn't be more thrilled to have the support of Warner Bros. in bringing him so people attending can hear what he has to say about our industry, the theater-going experience, and for us to thank him for an unparalleled career.

You're also planning to bring in more discussion about independent film.

Many people ask us why we don't do anything on independent film. We've tried to do it on a number of occasions and hadn't gotten the traction we really needed to pull it off, but this year we have. We're calling our Thursday lunch "The Independent Game: Based on a True Story." There's such an important role that independent film plays; the major studios are continuing to fill the pipeline with incredible product for the masses, but they're cutting back on the number of annual releases, which puts an added importance on independent distributors. They fill screens, and our screens want to be filled 52 weeks a year and offer as diverse a range of product as possible. We're really thrilled to put together a very potent program on independent film.

Can you tell us about some other panels you have planned?

We have other panels scheduled throughout the convention. We have one on the importance of the Hispanic and Latino marketplace. Menu labeling is very important to members of NATO, and our friends at NAC, the National Association of Concessionaires, are hosting a panel called "The How-To Guide for Compliance with the FDA Menu-Labeling Regulations." ICTA is putting together a program on Thursday morning: "The Unintended Consequences of Digital Cinema." Everyone is digital, everything is going great, but it's still a learning curve and there are some things we still need to get a handle on. We're also putting together a program on showmanship and marketing. There's so much going on in social media, and the print ad has gone by the wayside, but theater managers still need to be on top of their game from a marketing and showmanship standpoint. When you're running a theater and there are guidelines and regulations pertaining to the consumer that change so often, you need to be on top of so many topics. One of them is payment security. There's a whole new force in the world of credit cards, called EMV, that theaters need to comply with to protect their customers, and we have a panel on that on Wednesday morning.

Anything new this year that we should look forward to?

Something new and exciting this year is going to be the Monday-night opening that is going to take place at a brand-new club called Omnia-a fantastic state-of-the-art club. In Vegas if you're not with the times, you're behind the times, and we're really excited to introduce CinemaCon and its delegates to Omnia. It's going to follow our gala opening-night event and screening, which will be the first industry screening of Pitch Perfect 2. Elizabeth Banks will be on hand with some special surprises, and we're looking to get out of the gate in a very exciting way.

CinemaCon returns to Caesars Palace in Las Vegas April 20-23.


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