By Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud
May 26 The speed demons of "Fast & Furious 6"
raced ahead of the hard-partying "Hangover" gang in a battle
between two male-oriented movie franchises, setting up the car
chase sequel for a big holiday weekend win at U.S. and Canadian
"Fast & Furious 6" rang up an estimated $98.5 million in
domestic ticket sales from Friday through Sunday and was
speeding toward $122.5 million by the end of Monday's U.S.
Memorial Day holiday, distributor Universal Pictures projected.
Comedy sequel "The Hangover Part III" brought in $42.4
million from Friday through Sunday, according to studio
estimates, and was likely to finish with $64 million through
Monday, after a Thursday opening.
Last weekend's box office leader, sci-fi sequel "Star Trek
Into Darkness," fell to third place with $38 million through
Sunday and was headed toward $48 million through Monday.
The movies charged up the North American box office, putting
ticket sales on pace for a Memorial Day weekend record. Receipts
for all films could reach $323 million through Monday, according
to Hollywood.com, shattering the 2011 record of $276.3 million.
"A perfect storm of hits led to this incredible weekend with
going out to the movies proving itself to be the first choice
for outside-of-the-home entertainment," said Paul Dergarabedian,
president of Hollywood.com's box office division.
The sixth installment of "Fast & Furious" blew past
pre-weekend forecasts for $80 million in domestic sales over
four days by nearly 50 percent. The five previous films grossed
$1.6 billion combined.
Set in London, the new film stars Vin Diesel as Dominic
Toretto, a now-retired professional criminal who reunites his
crew with U.S. Diplomatic Security Service agent Luke Hobbs,
played by Dwayne Johnson. The group works to take down a
criminal outfit of mercenary drivers scattered across 12
The new movie built a massive online fan base with more than
34 million "likes" on Facebook. It cost $160 million to produce.
"To do this again, and have critics rave which is so unusual
for this type of film ... that's unbelievable," said Nikki
Rocco, president for domestic distribution at Universal Studios,
a unit of Comcast Corp.
"And it's really extraordinary that 49 percent of the
audience is female. Older females really love the film," she
noted, adding that its appeal is "very broad and very diverse."
"Fast & Furious 6" added $177 million in international
markets, bringing global sales through Sunday to $275.5
million, Universal said.
With the franchise showing no signs of slowing, Universal
has already announced the "Fast & Furious 7" release for July
"The Hangover Part III," meanwhile, brings the hard-partying
saga to a close. The third movie takes friends played by Bradley
Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis back to Las Vegas for a
new round of escapades as they hunt for the elusive and
eccentric Mr. Chow, played by Ken Jeong.
The third installment looked likely to miss forecasts for
sales of at least $70 million including Thursday sales of $11.8
million. Time Warner Inc's Warner Bros. and Legendary
Entertainment produced "Hangover Part III" for $103 million,
according to the Box Office Mojo website.
Dan Fellman, president of theatrical distribution for Warner
Bros, said that while the film "underperformed just a little
bit," the big weekend numbers all around were a good sign, and
"Hangover III" was the second-largest opening ever for an
R-rated film with $64 million projected through Monday.
"The market expanded enormously this weekend," Fellman
noted, "so we expect we'll be getting some of the 'Fast &
Furious' fans in the next week."
The weekend's other new nationwide release, animated family
film "Epic," landed in fourth place with $34.2 million through
Sunday and an estimated $44 million through Monday.
"Epic," released by News Corp's 20th Century Fox
studio, tells the story of a teenage girl who discovers a battle
between good and evil taking place deep in the forest. Colin
Farrell, Josh Hutcherson and Beyonce provide voices for the
characters. The 3D movie, which cost $93 million to produce, is
the first new family film to reach theaters since "The Croods"
debuted on March 22.
Third-place film "Star Trek Into Darkness" dropped 46
percent from its debut a week earlier. Global sales through
Sunday neared $260 million, according to distributor Paramount
Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc.
In fifth place, blockbuster superhero movie "Iron Man 3"
from Walt Disney Co's Marvel Studios earned $19.4
million through Sunday. Its cumulative global sales topped $1.1
billion, Disney said, the fifth-highest total of all time.