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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.

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.)

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