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Universal’s Fast & Furious 6 is leading a record Memorial Day weekend at the domestic box office, opening to a fuel-injected $38.2 million on Friday for a projected $119.3 million debut, one of the top showings for the holiday and a franchise-best.
Thanks in large part to the action pic, Memorial Day revenues could reach nearly $320 million, besting the previous record set in 2011 when ticket sales clocked in at roughly $276 million.
Overseas, Fast 6 is recording the biggest opening numbers ever for Universal, earning another $36 million on Friday for an estimated weekend gross of $150 million from 59 territories and a worldwide total north of $270 million through Monday.
Fast 6 is easily outpacing The Hangover Part III in North America. The final installment in Todd Phillips‘ R-rated comedy franchise took in $14.5 million on Friday to place a distant No. 2, pushing the film’s two-day total to $26.3 million (it opened Thursday to get a jump on Fast 6).
Hangover III, from Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, is anticipating a $54 million gross for the four-day holiday weekend and a five-day bow of $65 million — a tepid showing in comparison to the $135 million earned by The Hangover Part II during the same stretch in 2011.
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 an A CinemaScore and 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.
Fox’s animated family toon Epic, the third new Memorial Day entry, placed No. 4 on Friday as it opened to a solid $9.4 million for projected four-day debut of $42 million or more. Featuring a female heroine, the 3D pic earned an A CinemaScore and coveted A+ among kids.
Rounding out the top five on Friday were Paramount and Skydance’s Star Trek Into Darkness, which came in No. 3 with an estimated $10.2 million, and Disney and Marvel’s Iron Man 3, which placed No. 5.
Into Darkness, directed by J.J. Abrams, held in well despite the competition, declining 53 percent in its second Friday to roughly $10.2 million for a domestic total of $50.4 million. The pic should earn $50 million-plus for the four-day weekend (several rival studios even have it beating Hangover III).
Iron Man 3 took in $5.1 million for a domestic total of $353.2 million.
Baz Luhrmann‘s The Great Gatsby, from Warners and Village Roadshow Pictures, placed No. 6 with $4 million for a domestic total of $104.7 million.
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