Box Office Report: 'Fast 6' Passes 'Hangover III,' Eyeing $100 Million-Plus Memorial Day Debut

"Fast & Furious 6"
"Fast & Furious 6"
 

Universal's Fast & Furious 6 has sped past The Hangover Part III at the Friday box office, where it's expected to take in $35 million for the day on its way to a stellar four-day Memorial Day debut north of $100 million.

Hangover III, from Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, is aiming for a $14.5 million Friday and a softer-than-expected Memorial Day opening in the $52 million range. Opening Thursday, the final installment in Todd Phillips' comedy franchise is pacing to post a disappointing five-day debut hovering around $65 million.

The holiday's third new nationwide entry, 20th Century Fox's 3D family toon Epic, could open to $45 million or better for the four-day weekend.

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Until now, The Hangover  franchise has been a sure thing, but many have questioned the decision to open Fast 6 and Hangover III on the same weekend, since both films go after males. Boosting Fast 6's chances are a strong turnout among minorities, while Hangover III could be hurt by a B CinemaScore (the last film received an A- CinemaScore) and poor reviews.

The threequel returns Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis in the title roles as the gang returns to Las Vegas to rescue Galifianakis' character.

Hangover III's $11.6 million Thursday included $3.1 million in Wednesday night runs, compared to a record-breaking $10 million for Hangover II, the top midnight showing for an R-rated comedy. For the full Thursday, Hangover II took in just north of $31 million on its way to a five-day debut of $35 million.

Conversely, Fast 6 grossed $6.5 million in Thursday late night runs, easily outpacing the $3.8 million midnight gross of Fast Five in late April 2011 on its way to posting a three-day domestic debut of roughly $86 million. The action series is one of the few Hollywood franchises to gain such momentum with time.

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Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Paul Walker and Michelle Rodriguez return for the sixth installment.

Fast 6 is also off to a stellar start overseas, where it has already earned $53.4 million as it opens day and date in 59 markets. Last weekend, the movie grossed north of $13 million in the U.K. It opened in another 34 markets on Wednesday and Thursday, bringing the early total to the $53.4 million and, like in the U.K., marking Universal's biggest opening day in 22 markets.

Hangover III is only opening in three international markets this weekend: the U.K., Australia and New Zealand. The comedy took in a strong $1.8 million as it opened in Australia, dominating the market.

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