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Fast Five Laps Competition

May 2nd, 2011

There's finally reason to celebrate at the box office as Fast Five surpassed even the high end expectations and helped the overall box office numbers to their best levels of the year at $159 million. This was up 17% from last weekend and was a stunning 56% improvement over the same weekend last year. Granted, 2011 still lags behind 2010 by $500 million at $3.04 billion to $3.54 billion, but this is great news in the short term, and perhaps its a sign of strength to come.

I made several jokes about the names of upcoming Fast and the Furious sequels in Thursday's columns, and while the names were in no way serious, getting to ten installments is no longer something that can be entirely dismissed. Fast Five opened in first place with $86.20 million, which was more than the rest of the box office combined earned. Its IMAX numbers alone would have been enough for fifth place. It does have to deal with the Fanboy Effect and next week's direct competition, but with 79% positive reviews, $200 million has to be seen as a real goal. We will have a much clearer idea where the movie will end up by this time next week.

Rio was a little weaker than expected, probably because families just didn't want to deal with the crowds. It still crossed the $100 million mark with $14.79 million over the weekend, giving it a running tally of $104.01 million after three. This is more than it cost to make, and even if its worldwide P&A budget was more than its production budget, it has likely broken even at this point.

Madea's Big Happy Family fell just over 60% to $9.86 million over the weekend, lifting its running tally to $40.89 million after two. It should reach original expectations, or at least come close enough to be considered a victory.

Water for Elephants managed an easy fourth place finish with $9.34 million over the weekend. With just $32.48 million so far, it's going to miss original expectations, but not by so much that it will be seen as a complete failure.

On the other hand, Prom bombed with just $4.71 million in 2,730 screens for a per theater average of just $1,726. An opening average that is below the Mendoza line, plus a target audience that tends to be fickley, plus weak reviews... I think theater owners will drop this film ASAP.

Hoodwinked performed even worse, opening in sixth place with just $4.11 million. With a smaller per theater average and a Tomatometer Score that is barely in the double-digits, the only good news is the lack of direct competition over the coming weeks.

Thank goodness Fast Five was a runaway hit, or there would have been no good news this weekend. Dylan Dog: Dead of Night continued the trend of new releases crashing and burning as it earned a mere $755,000 in 875 theaters, barely reaching the top twenty in the process. Its reviews suggest it won't perform better on the home market, but given its opening, it's hard to imagine it will do much worse.

The only film in the sophomore class to not reach the top five was African Cats, which plummeted just a hair below 60% earning just $2.40 million over the weekend, giving it a total of $10.67 million so far. The studio will seriously contemplate ending the series after a result like that.


Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Rio, Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs. Evil, Madea's Big Happy Family, African Cats, Fast Five, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night, Water for Elephants, Prom