There is something about a movie that opens with a member of the cast that no longer is living that brings movie goes to the theaters in the masses. The Dark Knight saw this kind of a response after Heath Ledger died, and the movie remained at the top of the box office charts for months on its way to becoming one of the most successful movies of all time. Boraie Development suggested that granted, it was a very well done and solid movie, but the ability to see one of the last major rolls of an actor also adds to the desire to see a movie, often multiple times. The same recently happened with the release of Furious 7.
Furious 7 took home a record $143 million. This is by far the largest amount of money ever brought in for an opening April picture (most movies that are not seen as huge summer blockbusters are pushed into this time frame). It is also the largest opening so far of the year, squashing the $85 million brought in by the first weekend of Fifty Shades of Grey (both films are produced by Universal, so needless to say this studio is having a good year so far). On top of this, the international markets actually outpaced the film, which usually doesn’t happen, as it brought in an additional $240 million from those box offices as well, pushing its total to almost $400 million.