Box Office Results: Fast & Furious 6 Helps Set New Memorial Day Weekend Record

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The ComingSoon.net Box Office Report has been updated with studio estimates for the weekend. Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films and then check back on Monday for the final figures based on actual box office.

It’s June 5, 2009 and Todd Phillips’ new R-rated comedy The Hangover, featuring a cast of unknowns including Bradley Cooper in his first full-on leading role, opens against Will Ferrell’s Land of the Lost, considered at one point to be the favorite, and it absolutely destroys it, making $45 million to “Lost’s” $18.8 million. Cut forward to Memorial Day 2011 and The Hangover Part II is opening against DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 2, the sequel to a huge animated hit for star Jack Black. Once again, Phillips’ raunchy comedy wins the day with an $85 million weekend after a $31 million opening day. Kung Fu Panda 2 barely makes in four days what the original movie made its opening weekend.

And that brings us to Memorial Day 2013, the weekend where Todd Phillips’ “Hangover” franchise finally met its match…

In Fast & Furious 6 (Universal), the long-running street racing franchise that’s evolved with the times and delivered a quick follow-up to the popular Fast Five that brought the fans into theaters in droves. With the returning cast of Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson–his fourth movie in four months–Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, joined by Luke Evans and Gina Carano, “Furious 6” opened on Friday in 3,658 theaters, taking in $38.2 million, surpassing the opening day of Fast Five by $3.8 million. It then took full advantage of the long holiday weekend, bringing in $96.8 million over the three-day weekend and an estimated $120 million including Memorial Day Monday.

That opening makes it the fourth-biggest Memorial Day opening ever as well as Universal Pictures’ biggest opening movie to date, surpassing the $86.2 million opening of Fast Five two years ago. Work is already underway for a seventh installment to the franchise that could be released as early as next summer. That $120 million opening combined with the other blockbusters helped set a new Memorial Day record with the Top 10 grossing more than $300 million, an unprecedented achievement that didn’t even happen the weekend where Marvel’s The Avengers set a new opening record with $207 million.

Internationally, the movie also continued to do well as it opened in 59 additional territories following its slow roll-out in the UK and Ireland last weekend, with huge results in many countries that brought the international total to $197 million. So as of Monday, the sixth movie in the franchise has made $317 million worldwide. It’s yet to open in big markets like Australia, China and Japan.

Meanwhile, Todd Phillips’ The Hangover Part III (Warner Bros.) opened early on Thursday, reuniting the Wolf Pack of Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis and Ken Jeong, but it hit the weekend with horrid reviews and its $11.8 million opening Thursday (compared to the $31 million made by its predecessor its opening day) led to a disappointing four-day weekend take of $51.2 million, which is nearly half of what its predecessor made over Memorial Day weekend two years ago, at the time becoming the fourth-biggest opener over the holiday weekend. That position has been bumped down to fifth thanks to the latest “Fast and Furious,” too.

J.J. Abrams’ sci-fi sequel Star Trek Into Darkness, featuring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, John Cho, Simon Pegg and Benedict Cumberbatch, held decently in its second weekend even as it dropped to third place to make way for the two new movies. It brought in $38 million for the three-day weekend and $47 million including Monday. The film has earned $155.8 million domestically and $102.1 million internationally, for a worldwide total of $257.9 million.

That was followed by the latest animated film from Blue Sky Studios, makers of the “Ice Age” movies, with the action-adventure Epic (20th Century Fox), featuring the voices of Colin Farrell, Christoph Waltz, Josh Hutcherson, Amanda Seyfried, Beyonce Knowles, Aziz Ansari, Pitbull, Jason Sudeikis and Steven Tyler. That brought in $42.6 million over the four-day holiday weekend, which may be low for a Memorial Day where it’s the first new family film in months but it’s not awful and it can build on it in the three weeks before Disney•Pixar’s Monsters University opens.

Marvel Studios’ Iron Man 3, starring Robert Downey Jr., took fifth place with $19.4 million over the three-day weekend and $24.3 million including Monday, bringing its total to $371.6 million domestically, putting it head and shoulders above all other movies as the biggest grossing movie of the year. The threequel has grossed $1.142 billion worldwide, which you can read more about here.

Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, dropped to sixth place with $13.7 million over the three-day weekend and $17 million including Monday. Luhrman’s biggest domestic hit to date has grossed $118.2 million so far.

Nothing else in the Top 10 made a significant amount of money although Jeff Nichols’ Mud, starring Matthew McConaughey, had the best hold, making more over the four-day holiday weekend then it did last weekend despite losing theaters.

As mentioned before, this was one of the biggest weekends at the box office in a long time and the over $300 million made by the Top 10 was a huge 59% boost over last Memorial Day when Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones reunited for Men in Black 3, which brought in $69.2 million over the four-day weekend. The only other new movie was the found footage horror movie Chernobyl Diaries, which opened in fifth place with $8 million.

Opening in limited release, Richard Linklater’s long-awaited third chapter in the “Before” series Before Midnight (Sony Pictures Classics), once again starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, opened in five theaters in New York and Los Angeles where it grossed $322,000 over the four-day weekend or $54,300 per theater. Plans are to expand it nationwide on June 14.

Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films.