So people did not lose interest in going to the cinema, they were just waiting for the right flick all these months and Fast Five was just that, exploding at the box office with what is by far the biggest opening of the year (more then twice as much as the runner-up, Rio). More about how Fast Five brought box office back to life after the break.
First it was The Fast and the Furious in 2001, a surprise hit that spawned a franchise and many many other copycats, from movies to video games. Two years later, 2 Fast 2 Furious opened with equal success but lacking one of the stars that made the first one so enjoyable, Vin Diesel. Ultimately this one did not gross as much. Fast forward until 2006 and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, without both Paul Walker and Vin Diesel (?) made only a fraction of the box office generated by previous entries in the series ($62.5 million compared to the $144.5 million made by the first one and $127.1 million made by the second). Another 3 years had to pass for Universal to finally manage to bring the entire gang from the first movie back in the sequel/reboot Fast and Furious. As the title suggested, they wanted to go back to the roots, mainly trying to tap into what made the first one so successful 8 years before. After opening with $70.9 million, Fast and Furious was a triumph for Universal Studios, bringing back to life a series that seemed lost at one point. It made a total of $155 million in North America and now, after another 2 years, we have the 5th one and what an entry this is. 79% on Rotten Tomatoes, the first not just fresh, but certified fresh flick in the series, not to mention a 7.9 user rating on IMDB. These were all good signs only hinting at how fast Fast Five could go, and oh boy did it go fast.
After initial Friday numbers, it was estimated on Saturday that Fast Five would open with $80 million. Then on Sunday estimates went up and Fast Five was now looking at a fantastic $83 million debut. Come Monday, the official numbers were out and to the amazement of many industry analysts, something very rare happened, Fast Five opened even higher, $86.2 million. Adds said summer starts with this big boy, well they were right, it did start with Fast Five. At this point it has grossed $98.5 million in 5 days (34th fastest ever, besting Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and its 98.4 million in 5 days). From my point of view this is all but guaranteed to make at least $190 million in North America.
While it did represent 61% of the box office in the top 10, Fast Five is not the only story here. Rio fell to 2nd place with $14.7 million and has made so far $105.4 million in 19 days.
Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family (more like big long title) generated $9.8 million, down 60.7% (last Madea movie dropped 60.6% after the opening weekend) for $42 million in 12 days. Water for Elephants was 4th with $9.3 million and a smaller drop (44.5%) with $34.3 million after, well, 12 days.
Finally, the other three new, wide released movies of the week all bombed on various levels. Prom took 5th place with $4.7 million, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil was 6th with $4.1 million (Hoodwinked opened with $12.4 million in 2005 and went on to gross a lot more then the sequel can ever hope to make, $51.3 million) and Dylan Dog: Dead of Night was 18th with $0.7 million in 875 theaters.