Quick start for ‘2 Fast’ down under

Sequel speeds past original's preem numbers

If its bow in Australia is an indicator, “2 Fast 2 Furious” will be travelling in the fast lane.

Roaring out of the starting gates Thursday, a day before its U.S. preem, “2 Fast 2 Furious” pulled in $702,000 on around 300 prints.

That’s 40% more than the first day of its predecessor, “The Fast and the Furious,” which bowed on 254 prints and went on to amass $6.6 million Down Under.

The Universal/UIP actioner had a dream release date, with no serious competition over the weekend, and it will have a two-week window before BVI’s “Bruce Almighty” preems June 19.

Monday is a public holiday in Oz, so the pic will have the benefit of a long weekend. Industryites are projecting a five-day tally of around $3.2 million.

“We’re absolutely delighted to have beaten the first film, and we’re looking forward to a great holiday weekend,” said UIP Australia managing director Mike Selwyn.

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Aussie auds are embracing “2 Fast” despite the absence of the original’s headliner Vin Diesel, who pulled out of the sequel after a row over his fee.

Domestically, Universal execs figure sequel has a shot at exceeding its predecessor’s $40.1 million bow in June 2001, but they won’t say by how much. Pre-release tracking skewed heavily toward younger patrons and urban auds.

U insiders also confide they wouldn’t mind meeting results from another Diesel vehicle, “XXX” from Sony/Revolution. Actioner opened with $44.5 million last August.

(Carl DiOrio in Los Angeles contributed to this report.)