'Fast Five' Beats 'Thor' in Aussie Debut

 Jaimie Trueblood/Universal Pictures

Universal's Fast Five beat Paramount and Marvel's Thor in a head-to-head battle on Thursday in Australia, setting up what will be a closely watched weekend battle.

Helped by being a known franchise, Fast Five grossed an estimated $2.02 million (U.S. dollars) on Thursday for a stellar two-day gross of $4.34 million. The action pic opened Wednesday.

Thor, opening in Australia on Thursday, grossed roughly $1.5 million (U.S. dollars)--meeting Paramount's expectations for a new franchise. The superhero film opened 35% ahead of Paramount and Marvel's Iron Man, likely helped Australian actor Chris Hemsworth.

If Fast Five plays like previous installments, it could see a drop off heading into Easter weekend, giving Thor an advantage. However, Unviersal's franchise title is performing better than expected.

Thor opens only in Australia this weekend, a week ahead of its major international push (it doesn't open in North America until May 6).

Fast Five, which bows in North America April 29, goes out in the U.K., Korea and New Zealand Thursday and Friday.

Also worthy of note is that Wednesday night previews in Korea of Fast Five grossed 34% more than the last installment in the franchise.

The movie's Wednesday opening of $2.4 million in Australia was Universal's highest opening in history in that country.

Box office observers aren't surprised that Fast Five is off to a strong start, and believe it will be strong competition for Thor at the foreign box office in the coming days. However, Thor has the advantage of potentially being a broader play and benefitting from the upcharge from 3D tickets.
 

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