B.O. Roundup, May 24-26: 'Furious 6' Leaves 'Hangover' in the Dust

Sunday, 26 May 2013 13:08 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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B.O. Roundup, May 24-26: 'Furious 6' Leaves 'Hangover' in the Dust

It's Memorial Day weekend, and Americans commemorated those U.S. military servicemen and women who've lost their lives with an orgy of automotive action.

On the one hand, Fast & Furious 6 emphatically defied the rule of diminished returns, while another big-time sequel, The Hangover Part III, proved the rule pretty effectively.  The week's other new wide release, the animated Epic, made a solid impression in fourth place.

Furious 6, the swan song for four-time franchise director Justin Lin, easily outpaced the surprisingly huge Fast Five in 2011, earning an estimated $98.5 million since Friday.  That's the biggest debut since the series kicked off with The Fast and the Furious in 2001.  The action-packed sequel is projected to bring in $122.2 million through the three-day holiday weekend, and if that projection ends up being accurate, then Fast & Furious 6 will sit at number four on the list of all-time Memorial Day openers, unseating, coincidentally enough, The Hangover Part II.

Speaking of that franchise, the face-off between Furious 6 and The Hangover Part III always seemed bound to hurt one or the other.  Warner Bros. attempted to give the Todd Phillips-directed series send off a little breathing room by opening on Thursday.  Since then, the second sequel to 2009's The Hangover earned an estimated $54.2 million, $42.4 million is from the weekend proper so far.  The Hangover Part III is expected to bring in $63.8 million by the end of the long weekend. 

That $54 million four-day total is disappointing, as evidenced by the fact that 2011's The Hangover Part II brought in $117.5 million in the same time frame.  That sequel didn't build up any goodwill for the franchise, and audiences apparently felt that The Hangover series was out of gas on entry number three, while Fast & Furious is still hauling ass on number six.  Marketing for Part III felt very familiar, and a critical beating solidified the impression that this series no longer has the spark of the original.

The performance of The Hangover Part III makes Star Trek Into Darkness look a whole lot better by comparison, as the sequel declined 45% from its debut – a very healthy hold for a blockbuster – adding an estimated $38 million for a domestic total of $146.8 million.  That's only a bit short of the $152.1 million earned by 2009's Star Trek over the same amount of time.  JJ Abrams's follow-up is doing better than its predecessor internationally, having earned $102.1 million in foreign markets.

In fourth place we find Epic, the animated adventure from Blue Sky Studios, the animation house behind Ice Age and Rio.  The film, which boasts a strong environmental image, played in air-conditioned theaters nationwide and earned an estimated $34.2 million over the standard weekend.  That's the lowest debut for a Blue Sky feature, but given the competition this holiday weekend, it's certainly nothing to sneeze at.

Iron Man 3 continued making lots and lots of money in fifth place, but let's venture outside the top ten to take a look at a few limited releases.  Playing in only five locations, Richard Linklater's Before Midnight earned $274,000.  That means a tremendous $54,000 per-screen average for the sequel to 1995's Before Sunrise and 2004's Before Sunset.  Celine and Jesse forever.  Frances Ha, from Noah Baumbach and co-writer/star Greta Gerwig, expanded from four locations to sixty, and in the process earned $612,000.

All in all, this Memorial Day weekend is on track to be the biggest on record at the overall box office.  So that's something, right?

Here are the top ten movies for the holiday frame:

1. Furious 6                                            $98.5 million               New Release

2. The Hangover Part III                        $42.4 million              $54.2 million

3. Star Trek Into Darkness                    $38.0 million              $146.8 million

4. Epic                                                    $34.2 million              New Release

5. Iron Man 3                                          $19.4 million              $367.5 million

6. The Great Gatsby                              $13.7 million              $114.2 million

7. Mud                                                    $1.9 million                $14.5 million

8. 42                                                       $1.2 million                $91.2 million

9. The Croods                                       $1.2 million                $179.2 million

10. Oblivion                                          $815,000                   $87.2 million

The coming week sees releases for a variety of movies, from After Earth to Now You See Me on the big side to The East and The Kings of Summer on the smaller side.

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