Fast & Furious Races to Victory
By John Hamann
May 26, 2013
The Saturday amount for Fast & Furious 6 came in at $31.5 million, another strong number. Fast Five went from a "true" Friday of $30.8 million to $29.9 million on Saturday, which shows some front-loading, especially for a weekend in April. Over Memorial Day Weekend, Fast & Furious 6 basically has two box office Saturdays over the long weekend, as it skips the down Sunday that a regular box office weekend has. That means the three-day weekend estimate comes in at a powerful $98.5 million, just behind the previous Memorial Day weekend record holder, Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, which earned $100.1 million from Friday-to-Sunday. The Fast & Furious franchise continues to be uber-hot, despite being six films into the series. No other franchise – except the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise – has shown this kind of strength this far into a series.
Fast & Furious 6 was made for $160 million - a steal in today’s blockbuster world – as we see other summer tentpoles costing much more. G.I. Joe Retaliation cost $120 million to make, and Fast & Furious 6 will earn more than it has in less than four days. Star Trek Into Darkness cost Paramount $30 million more to make than Fast & Furious 6, and was comparatively embarrassed over their respective opening weekends. Universal was once the gods of summer box office (The Mummy franchise, Bourne series, Jurassic Park franchise, just to name a few), but they fell from grace. Now they are returning to summer with films like this, and still have a much-anticipated Despicable Me sequel (my wife can’t wait), a Kick-Ass sequel, R.I.P.D. with Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges, and a Denzel Washington release, which is automatic for a $20 million plus opening or more. With the release of Fast & Furious 6, Universal can relax as the pressure is finally off this summer, and they can hope the success of this Memorial Day triumph breathes life into Diesel’s next Universal release, Riddick, the third film in the Pitch Black series.
The shine has come off The Hangover franchise with Part III, but that doesn't mean it didn't make any money this weekend. Most folks know that The Hangover Part II wasn't all that great, and The Hangover Part III didn't harken back to the original for critics and audiences, either. Still, the franchise that made Todd Phillips rich did okay this weekend, but matched the grosses of the original, and not the $86 million three-day that the sequel earned. The Hangover Part III got started with Wednesday previews, earning $3.1 million, about a third of what The Hangover Part II did from its previews. Thursday was its first complete day in theaters, where it earned $11.8 million. Normally, this would be a great success, but the comparison to the second film again kills it, and Hangover II put up three times as much on opening day. On Friday, The Hangover Part III earned $14.5 million (about half of what the sequel earned), so you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out the trending on Part III. In the end, The Hangover Part III had a Friday-to-Sunday gross of $42.4 million – throwing under MIB3's $54.6 million three-day total. It's going to go down as a pretty big disappointment.
This is the second weekend in a row we have a major studio making a stupid scheduling mistake. Considering that Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures put an additional $20 million into the budget ($103 million) compared to The Hangover Part II, they obviously had faith in it. But by putting it up against Fast & Furious 6, it can be argued that it kneecapped its chances at success. Moving it to the also-strong July 4th weekend would have put it up against Lone Ranger and Despicable Me 2 (both arguably family or teen films), and removed some of the demographic crossover it saw from Fast & Furious 6 – and most of the other films in the top five this weekend. The other side of the argument, though, is that The Hangover Part III got started a day earlier than Furious 6, so even when there wasn’t the competition, this Hangover still failed. Regardless, The Hangover Part III will still make $100 million stateside, and another $150 million overseas (or more), which should keep the studio in the black for this $105 million film.