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Paul Walker’s Death Adds Life to ‘Furious 7;’ Box Debut Tops $145M

Paul Walker was killed in a high-speed car crash while filming Fast & Furious 7. A new trailer contains some of his final stunts. (Photo: Getty)

Paul Walker was killed in a high-speed car crash while filming ‘Furious 7.’ The film (Photo: Getty)

Paul Walker’s untimely death in a street racing accident that mirrored in many ways his “Fast and Furious” movie persona, help fuel “Furious 7” to a stunning opening weekend, with a reported $146.5 domestic box office gross and $240 million worldwide.

The opening put it in the same league as other action blockbusters like “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” ($158 million).

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The film posted the fourth-highest international gross in modern film history behind “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2,” ($483.2 million), “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” ($394.4 million)” and “The Avengers” ($392.5 million),” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The film was particularly strong overseas. It’s now the third highest grossing film opening weekend and has yet to screen in China, where it opens Apr. 12.

There was a consensus among film watchers that moviegoers were motivated to see the film because it marked Walker’s last performance. Walker was midway through filming the picture when he died in the crash of a high-performance Porsche GT sports car.

Paul Walker Cheats Death in New Fast & Furious 7 Trailer (watch!)

The cause was later attributed to driver error. Walker’s close friend Roger W. Rodas was driving when the car spun out of control at a reported 100 mph and crashed into a light pole and some trees. It burst into flames shortly after impact.

Rodas was killed by the impact; Walker survived the crash only to die of smoke inhalation, according to the coroner’s report.

Rodas’ widow filed a lawsuit alleging that the 610-horsepower car was riddled with design flaws that led to their deaths. Porsche has denied the allegations, and the case is still pending in court.

Paul Walker Death Leads to Lawsuit Over Alleged Porsche Car Defects

“Furious 7” is shaping up to be the highest grossing film in the series. The last series topper was “Fast and Furious 6,” which grossed $117 million domestically over a four-day Memorial Day weekend in 2013, according to the reporter.

After Walker’s death, production on the film resumed five months later and his brothers, Caleb and Cody, were used as body doubles in scenes were it was impossible to write around his character.

Paul Walker Killed by Porsche’s High Speed, Driver Loss of Control

The film’s studio, Universal, knows a good thing when it sees it and is planning three more sequels in the series.

For the latest film news, follow IM on Twitter. For more on how the weekend shaped up for other films, check out THR.

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