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Box office sees surge of globalism

By JAKE COYLE Associated Press

NEW YORK -- A South India sensation, a Hispanic-focused comedy and the highest-grossing film ever directed by an African American made up the top three films in North America on a culturally diverse box office weekend.

As expected, it was another runaway weekend for "The Fate of the Furious," which took No. 1 for the third straight week with $19.4 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The "Fast and the Furious" franchise, the latest of which is helmed by F. Gary Gray, has always been held up as a model of the diverse blockbuster, given its cast led by Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson. But the smaller films that trailed it over the weekend also reflected the box-office might of often underserved audiences.

In second domestically with $12 million and drawing an overwhelmingly Hispanic crowd was Eugenio Derbez's comedy, "How to Be a Latin Lover." The film is easily the biggest success yet for Pantelion, the Latino-oriented joint venture of Lionsgate and Grupo Televisa.

"How to Be a Latin Lover" co-stars Salma Hayek, Rob Lowe and Kristen Bell. But its top draw is Derbez, whose "Instructions Not Included" was the highest-grossing Spanish-language film in North America in 2013. The audience for "How to be a Latin Lover" was 89 percent Hispanic.

In third was "Baahubali 2: The Conclusion," a so-called Tollywood (Telugu language) film from South India, which pulled in a remarkable $10.1 million despite playing on just 420 screens.

"Baahubali 2" even bested a pair of Hollywood's biggest stars in Emma Watson and Tom Hanks. Their terribly reviewed thriller "The Circle," opened with $9.3 million.

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore, said such global weekends at the box office will become more common.

"In what is a slow and would otherwise be unremarkable weekend, this is a really interesting lineup of films," said Dergarabedian. "This is the final weekend before the summer season kicks off and the blockbusters hit theaters. But this weekend is marked by an incredible amount of multicultural content. It reflects the world that we're living in."

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Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers also are included.

1. "The Fate of the Furious," $19.4 million ($68.4 million international).

2. "How to Be a Latin Lover," $12 million.

3. "Baahubali 2: The Conclusion," $10.1 million ($3.7 million international).

4. "The Circle," $9.3 million.

5. "The Boss Baby," $9.1 million ($15.5 million international).

6. "Beauty and the Beast," $6.4 million ($17.2 million international).

7. "Going in Style," $3.6 million ($3 million international).

8. "Smurfs: The Lost Village," $3.3 million ($11.7 million international).

9. "Gifted," $3.3 million.

10. "Unforgettable," $2.3 million.

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