SATURDAY 11:30 AM, 8TH UPDATE: Universal’s Fast & Furious 6 opened day and date with the U.S. and Canada in 59 international territories and is breaking records. The studio says it opened #1 in every territory and is dominating the box office with 65% market share. Friday’s international gross is $36M at 8,583 dates for an early total of $90M. This is Universal’s highest grossing Friday of all time and will be Universal’s biggest overseas weekend by a large margin. The international total will be $169M though Sunday. Combined with the North American estimates of $96.2M, the three-day weekend worldwide total will be $265.2M.
SATURDAY 6:30 AM, 7TH UPDATE: Summer 2013 keeps sizzling as huge grosses for the Top 6 movies add up to the biggest Memorial Day weekend and the biggest 4-day holiday eve r(numbers below). That’s potentially $300+ million, easily beating 2011′s all-time Memorial Weekend record of $276M. Yowza! The easy #1 is Universal’s Fast & Furious 6 pulling ahead with $39M Friday (including Thursday late shows and Friday midnights) to target $121M for the holiday weekend from 3,658 domestic theaters. After 12 years, five films and more than $1.5 billion at the global box office, the sixth Fast & Furious installment successfully transitioned from street racing to heist action to terrorist plot and will be the franchise’s biggest opening by far. Audiences gave it an ‘A’ CinemaScore which will help word of mouth. Universal claims the cost of the movie is $160M. F&F6 debuted in 2,409 North American theaters for Thursday 10 PM late shows and Friday midnights and made $6.5M which speeded past Fast 5‘s $3.8M late show grosses from an uncrowded April 29, 2011. It debuts day and date in 59 total international territories this weekend and going into Friday already has $53.4M from 34 international markets, opening #1 in all of them as the franchise’s biggest. Another 25 territories release Friday. Universal has six more territories to open including Trinidad on May 29, Australia and New Zealand on June 6, Venezuela on June 21, Japan on July 6 and China on July 20. No studio has ever dared to keep changing the genre of a successful franchise – but chairman Adam Fogelson and co-chairman Donna Langley again hired Chris Morgan to freshen it yet again. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is back as a federal agent alongside Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and of course director Justin Lin (behind the camera for the 4th time) and longtime producer Neal Moritz. It also stars Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Elsa Pataky plus newcomers Luke Evans and Gina Carano.
The #2 film is Warner Bros’ The Hangover Part III co-financed with Legendary Pictures making $14.5M Friday after earning $11.7M for its Wednesday late shows/Thursday midnights. As the only R-rated comedy, it’s aiming for a $52M Memorial Weekend from 3,555 North American theaters and $63.5M cume over 5 1/2 days. Studio claims the cost was $103M. Pic’s $11.7 million start for Wednesday late shows and Thursday midnights was miniscule compared to H2‘s April 2011 Thursday opening of $31.6M - the highest-grossing opening day ever for a live-action comedy. Audiences only gave The Hangover Part III a ‘B’ CinemaScore compared to the ‘A-’ which the sequel scored. Reviews were only 26% positive on Rotten Tomatoes compared to H2‘s 34% which was considered embarrassingly awful. (By contrast, both F&F6 and Epic both scored 70+% positive RT reviews.) But worldwide moviegoers really like this mindless summer crap. Internationally, the comedy is taking off in only 3 markets this weekend – the UK, Australia and New Zealand with strong early numbers. Next weekend H3 opens in 32 markets, including Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Brazil. Memorial Weekend wouldn’t have been so crowded if either Warner Bros (who came late and then moved from a Friday to Thursday wide release) or Universal (who tagged it from the beginning) blinked. “But they just stared each other down as they both were driving off a cliff,” one rival studio exec says. Strange because the weekend of May 31st stayed open until Will Smith’s After Earth grabbed it. H3 is positioned as ”the epic conclusion to the trilogy of mayhem and bad decisions” and ”fans have to see how the most popular comedy franchise of all time ends”. Director Todd Phillips returns Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms and nemesis Ken Jeong to Las Vegas where it all began.
And #4 right now is Twentieth Century Fox/Blue Sky Studios’ 3D toon Epic which is looking at $9.1M Friday and expecting $44.2M in 3,882 U.S. and Canadian locations for Memorial Weekend.That’s about par for the course for original content animated films in a very competitive environment. (Opening weekends for recent comps range from $37M-$39M. This may pop since audiences gave it an ‘A’ CinemaScore which will help word of mouth. Sibling of the hit Ice Age and Rio franchises looks more earnest and less fun but benefits greatly from what has been a drought of family fare since March when The Croodsopened. Fox claims cost was $93M for this Chris Wedge-directed animated actioner with screenplay credited to James V. Hart & William Joyce, Dan Shere, and Tom J. Astle & Matt Ember. Producers were Lori Forte and Jerry Davis. Beyoncé was the cast ‘get’ plus Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Amanda Seyfried, Christoph Waltz, Aziz Ansari, Pitbull, Jason Sudeikis, Steven Tyler. Blake Anderson, and Judah Friedlander. Epic began its $14.5M overseas rollout last weekend in only 16 markets - only 3 top – with 20 additional international territories opening this Memorial Weekend.
There are also 3 proven blockbusters still in the marketplace: Disney/Marvel’s Iron Man 3 in 3,424 theaters, Warner Bros/Village Roadshow’s The Great Gatsby in 3,090 locations (which Friday crossed $100M domestic after only 14 days and is the first Baz Luhrmann film to do so), and Paramount/Skydance’s Star Trek In Darkness in 3,907 theaters.
Here’s the Top Six based on Friday estimates. Refined numbers in the morning:
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