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‘Fast and Furious 6’ Shows Off Franchise’s Mettle

Universal blockbuster scores $300 million-plus global bow, fueling record Memorial Day sesh

After more than a decade, Universal‘s “Fast and Furiousfranchise has proven itself a convention-defying force to be reckoned with at the box office, with the series’ sixth installment collecting north of $300 million globally opening weekend.

Fast and Furious 6” fueled Memorial Day weekend box office to record-setting heights, grossing a revised estimated $120 million in four days — all while competing directly with Warner Bros.’ opener “The Hangover Part III,” which underperformed with $51.2 million through Monday. Pic grossed $63 million in five days.

The holiday weekend, which totaled more than $300 million for the first time ever, was boosted by Fox’s 3D toon “Epic,” overperforming with a four-day estimate of $42.6 million. The film, which has grossed $44 million internationally in two weeks, played to a family market that has been underserved for nearly three months.

“For an original content animated film, this is a terrific start,” said Fox distribution chief Chris Aronson. “Plus, we’re moving into the strong midweek days of summer.”

Fast and Furious 6” ranks as the fourth-highest Memorial Day weekend opener, behind “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” ($139.8 million), “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” ($126.9 million) and “X-Men: The Last Stand” ($122.9 million).

Intriguingly, though, the “Fast” franchise — which now has amassed $1.8 billion in worldwide B.O. receipts — wouldn’t seem to have the same pull with families — yet the film’s opening suggests it does.

Also, solid Stateside holdovers included Paramount’s “Star Trek Into Darkness,” which grossed $47 million through Monday, and Disney-Marvel’s “Iron Man 3,” with $24.4 million.

“Star Trek” reached $155.8 million after its second frame; “Iron Man,” meanwhile, crossed $370 million in its fourth.

Internationally, “Fast and Furious 6” totaled a boffo $160.3 million from 59 territories — making it Universal’s biggest opening weekend overseas, larger than 2011’s “Fast Five” (at $125 million). So far, “Fast 6” has totaled $197 million overseas, including the U.K. where the film bowed last weekend.

In Blighty, “The Hangover” bowed at No. 1 with $9.2 million, while Australia and New Zealand contributed a combined $10 million. Warner expands the film to most every other market over the next few weeks.

‘Fast’ and defiant

The $160 million franchise six-peat defied box office convention, managing to overperform with “Hangover III” also targeting young males. With the head-to-head showdown, “Fast” certainly proved its mettle and showed no sign of franchise fatigue (lucky for Universal, since it’s already dated “Fast and Furious 7” for July 11, 2014).

“It just proves there is an exception to every rule,” said one rival studio distribution exec.

The franchise’s playability has grown exponentially — especially overseas — since the first film bowed in 2001. “Fast Five” earned $416 million overseas, doubling the next-highest grossing installment, 2009’s “Fast and Furious,” with $208 million.

“Everybody’s efforts to keep their finger on the pulse of what the hell is going on with this franchise were phenomenal,” Universal distribution prexy Nikki Rocco told Variety. She added that the film played extraordinarily well throughout the South and across the Midwest, with Hispanic auds contributing 32% of the opening.

“Fast 6” scored an overall ‘A’ CinemaScore, with under-25 auds giving it an ‘A+’.

“Fast 6” opened at N0. 1 in every market this weekend: The film’s top overseas territory, Russia, contributed $17.8 million. Mexico, Germany and France followed, all grossing north of $10 million each in three days.

A ‘Midnight’ hit

Sony Pictures Classics’ indie three-quel “Before Midnight” scored a healthy four-day per-screen average of $64,383 from five locations. The film staring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy estimated $321,914 through Monday.

Meanwhile, Roadside Attractions’ Southern coming-of-age fable, “Mud,” continues to leg out nicely, with a Stateside cume of $15 million. The film grossed $2.4 million in four days from 712 locations, down from 960 last weekend.

Domestic

Film (Weeks in release): 4-day gross*; 3-day gross*; Locations; Per-theater average; Cume*; Percentage change**

  1. Fast and Furious 6 (1): $120.0; $96.8; 3,658; $32,805; $120.0; —
  2. The Hangover Part III (1): $51.2; $41.8; 3,555; $14,406; $63.0; —
  3. Star Trek Into Darkness (2): $47.0; $37.3; 3,907; $12,030; $155.8; -47%
  4. Epic (1): $42.6; $33.5; 3,882; $10,974; $42.6; —
  5. Iron Man 3 (4): $24.4; $19.2; 3,424; $7,112; $372.4; -46%
  6. The Great Gatsby (3): $17.0; $13.6; 3,090; $5,508; $117.7; -43%
  7. Mud (5): $2.4; $1.9; 712; $3,408; $15.0; -14%
  8. The Croods (10): $1.6; $1.2; 1,008; $1,602; $179.6; -60%
  9. 42 (7): $1.6; $1.3; 915; $1,756; $91.4; -55%
  10. Oblivion (6): $1.1; $0.8; 672; $1,910; $87.6; -64%

Overseas

Film (Weeks in release): 3-day gross*; Territories; Screens; Int’l cume*; Global cume*; Percentage change

  1. Fast and Furious 6 (2): $160.3; 60; 8,644; $197.0; $317.0; +999%
  2. The Great Gatsby (2): $24.1; 50; 7,720; $85.2; $202.9; -42%
  3. Epic (2): $23.2; 34; 8,183; $44.0; $86.6; +59%
  4. The Hangover Part III (1): $19.0; 3; 1,595; $19.0; $82.0; —
  5. Iron Man 3 (5): $17.4; 55; n/a; $774.8; $1.15‡; -57%

*in millions of $; **based on 3-day gross; ‡in billions of $

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