Weekend Box Office – FAST FIVE Drives Off with $83.6 Million to Become Highest April Debut of All-Time

     May 1, 2011


After driving off with $33.2 million on Friday, a record debut for April, Universal’s Fast Five went on to an incredible weekend estimate of $83.6 million from 3,644 locations.  And, as on Friday, that was also good enough to break all kinds of records.

Title Weekend Total
1 Fast Five $83,600,000 $83.6
2 Rio $14,400,000 $103.6
3 Madea’s Big Happy Family $10,050,000 $41
4 Water for Elephants $9,125,000 $32.2
5 Prom $5,000,000 $5
6 Hoodwinked Too! $4,100,000 $4.1
7 Soul Surfer $3,300,000 $33.7
8 Insidious $2,680,000 $43.3
9 Hop $2,550,000 $105.2
10 Source Code $2,530,000 $48.9

Fast_Five_movie_posterLet’s start with the obvious.  Fast Five now has the highest opening weekend of 2011.  In fact, the Fast Five estimate more than doubles the $39.2 million that Rio brought in to win that title just three weeks back.  Fast Five has also scored the highest opening of the entire FandF franchise – a series of films that appeared to be out of gas until April 2009 when the fourth entry, Fast and Furious, opened with $71 million.  That total was high enough to secure the record for the biggest April opening of all time – until today, that is.

Fast Five has also broken records for the studio that released it: Universal. Not only is this the biggest debut the studio has had this year (easily topping the $37.5 million of Hop), it is also Universal’s biggest debut of all-time.  The former record holder was The Lost World: Jurassic Park with $72.1 (although adjusted for inflation that would equal $97.5 million today).  Fast Five’s first weekend also bests that of The Bourne Ultimatum, which earned Universal $69.2 million in 2007 (inflation being less of an issue in that case).

Clearly, the fact that Fast Five was able to break records is great news – especially in light of the down-right dreary year the box office has been having.  In terms of year-to-year comparisons, we’ve got our third weekend in a row of positive gains.  In 2010 the reboot of A Nightmare on Elm Street was the big winner with $39.2 million.  So, even with the rest of this weekend’s top ten kind of a wash, we’ll be up by over 50% from last year.

And, when I say kind of a wash I’m not exaggerating.  Not one film, holdover or new release, was able to make it past $15 million.  Last weekend’s number one film, Rio, has the most to celebrate.  At number two in its third week with an estimated $14.4 million, Rio became only the fourth film to fly past the $100 million mark this year.  When foreign grosses are added in, the Fox toon is already well over $350 million and counting.

At number three, Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family dropped by an estimated 60% in its second weekend.  That’s not great news but it is actually on par with Perry’s record.  Even his biggest hit, 2009’s Madea Goes to Jail, fell by exactly that percentage in its sophomore frame.  Also in its second week, Fox’s Water for Elephants held a bit better with its estimated decline of 45%.  The precipitous 69% drop of Scream 4, however, was more than enough to put it right out of the top ten after just one week.

hoodwinked-too-movie-image-01Then we have our other new titles.  First up, Disney’s Prom.  It has been over two years since High School Musical 3 opened to $42 million (and if I recall, that was a bit under what some had predicted from such a popular TV franchise).  Prom used the same teen-musical formula as HSM, minus the part where they built the brand up with TV movies.  At a reported $9 million it was also inexpensive to produce.  Most projections had the film making at least that amount in its debut.  Instead, Disney took in an estimated of $5 million from 2,730 locations.  Probably should have kept this one on the small screen.

Finally, TWC’s Hoodwinked Too! brought in an estimated $4.1 million from its 2,505 locations.  That is not even half of what the studio expected from this animated sequel, especially considering that over 75% of the screens were in the higher-priced 3D format.  The first Hoodwinked made $12.4 million in its debut back in October of 2005.  Not recalling that there was a first Hoodwinked, I had to look that one up.  It’s likely that I’ll never have to go through that again, however.  After this weekend it doesn’t look like “Hoodwinked 3” is on the horizon.

So, I know summer started in April and all with Fast Five but summer is really and truly scheduled to start next weekend (in the more traditional first week of May) with the long-awaited release of Thor.  Released in 56 international markets this weekend, estimates put Thor’s foreign total at a sizable $93 million – unsurprisingly, Hollywood’s best overseas launch of 2011.  Can’t wait to see how the big guy does stateside.


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