How diversity is driving 'Furious 7' box office success

The legacy of Paul Walker
The legacy of Paul Walker

"Furious 7" opened to a record $147 million U.S. box office this weekend, and much of its success seems to be driven by the film's popularity among minority audiences.

A huge 75% of those who saw the film this weekend were non-white. This includes Hispanics, who at 37% made up the majority of the film's attendance. Only 25% of the movie's audience was white while 24% was African-American and 10% was Asian.

"The Fast and the Furious" series has always included a large ensemble cast that is made up of actors from different cultural backgrounds.

"It doesn't matter what nationality you are. As a member of the audience, you realize you can be a member of that 'family,'" series star Vin Diesel told Entertainment Weekly earlier this month. "That's the beautiful thing about how the franchise has evolved."

furious 7 fire
"Furious 7" had a huge weekend at the box office, thanks in large part to a diverse audience.

The film also consists of strong female leads played by actresses like Jordana Brewster and Michele Rodriguez.

For Universal, the studio that released the film, its success speaks volumes considering that Hispanics make up one of the most valued and growing demographics at the box office.

According to a 2014 report by the Motion Picture Association of America, Hispanics make up only 17% of the U.S. population, yet on average, Hispanics represent 23% of U.S. movie ticket buyers.

While the "Furious" series stretches across racial lines, the same cannot be said for Hollywood.

A 2015 report by UCLA's Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies found that minorities are underrepresented in leading film roles by more than 2 to 1.

The report also found that films with relatively diverse casts enjoyed the highest median global box office numbers and the highest median return on investment.

This was shown this past weekend with the huge opening of "Furious 7."

Related: 'Furious 7' races to record $147.2 million opening box office

Despite the fact that most action films like "Furious 7" are marketed towards a young male audience, the film was also a big hit among women. Female moviegoers composed 49% of the film's opening-day audience.

In fact, the whole Fast and The Furious series has been consistently popular among women.

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