Fast & Furious becoming the biggest hit in Malaysia

 Fast & Furious becoming the biggest hit in Malaysia
Screengrab from the film 'Fast and Furious 7'

PETALING JAYA: The latest instalment in the Fast & Furious franchise has broken box-office records in Malaysia.

In a press statement released by the film distributor, United International Pictures Malaysia (UIP) said the film opened at No. 1, beating previous record holders Transformers: Age Of Extinction and Iron Man 3 to become the "biggest film opening of all-time in Malaysian cinematic history".

UIP would not reveal the sales figures due to industry practice and company policy.

Online entertainment portal Deadline reported that Fast & Furious 7's opening weekend had earned US$392.2mil (S$533 million) worldwide.

In the United States alone, the film raked in US$143.6mil from 4,004 locations, making it the franchise's best.

Since the first movie in 2001, the franchise has made more than US$2bil worldwide.

UIP managing director Nicholas Yong said: "While we realise that the fan base for the Fast & Furious franchise is extremely strong in this country, we are just bowled over by the outstanding results.

"Turbo-boosted by the excellent word-of-mouth, local audiences really responded to the theme of family-ties, humour and the great over-the-top action.

"The film being directed by Malaysian-born James Wan, and the fact that this is Paul Walker's last film, were added must-see elements for local movie-goers."

Star2 film critic Davin Arul wrote: "Fast & Furious 7 - now revealed to be the start of a new trilogy - will please series fans and keep casual viewers entertained.

"And of course, there's that sweet parting of the ways at the end. Rev your engines, but keep some tissues in the glove compartment."

Moviegoer Emily Yeoh, 24, said: "Even though there are a lot of ridiculous and illogical scenes, it's still an enjoyable movie in the way it's directed. I was also touched by the way they ended the film."

Walker died on Nov 30, 2013, after being involved in a car crash at the age of 40, midway through production of the film.

Walker's brothers - Caleb and Cody - were brought in as stand-ins to play the actor's remaining scenes.

In some shots during the movie involving Walker's character, noticeable computer effects are used for facial replacement.

In an interview with Los Angeles Times, Wan shared that while it was hard to go back to work without Walker, he and everyone involved wanted to finish it and make it a movie that Walker would be proud of, honouring his legacy and memories.

In the same interview the Sarawak-born director talked about his experience working with Walker's brothers.

He said: "The incredible thing about having the family with us to finish the rest of the movie was that it felt like there was closure for the actors.

"It allowed Cody and Caleb to do one last thing for their brother."

Fast & Furious 7 - also starring Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Kurt Russel, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster - is currently showing in cinemas nationwide.

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