“New model, original parts” — that tagline along with a great marketing strategy that emphasized the reunited original cast including Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster has resulted in Fast & Furious posting the best April opening ever, the best Friday gross ($30.5 million) in April and the biggest opening weekend of the year thus far. With a massive $72.5 million debut, obliterating the old April debut record of $42.3 million set by Anger Management back in 2003, Fast & Furious proves that audiences are loyal to specific stars in specific roles and will line up in big numbers to see these actors portray their most beloved characters.
At number two with $33.5 million is Monsters vs. Aliens, which dropped a minimal 44 percent in its second weekend of release and is already at $105 million+. The IMAX 3-D showings earned $3.1 million this weekend (down just 39 percent vs. last weekend) in over 140 screens. This is the highest second weekend for a 3-D title that IMAX has ever had. The film, which officially ushered in the new era of the 3-D movie by showing the tremendous positive effect the technology has on the box office, was the talk of last week’s ShoWest theater exhibitor confab in Las Vegas.
In the third spot is The Haunting in Connecticut which debuted better than expected last weekend with over $23 million; and with $9.5 million this weekend, it’s now up to $37.2 million in profit-heavy box office. With a modest budget and a strong showing, the based-on-a-true-story horror film proves the sustained popularity of the genre.
In fourth is Nicolas Cage’s thriller Knowing, which has now crossed the $50 million mark after adding another $6 million this weekend. Cage is another star who continues to prove his audience appeal after many years in the business. From a “blink and you’ll miss him” role in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (where he is billed as Nicolas Coppola) to the Coen brothers comedy Raising Arizona to the action flicks The Rock and Con Air, Cage in these late ’00 years is as viable as ever.
Finally at number five is the bromance comedy I Love You, Man starring comedy mainstay Paul Rudd and Jason Segel. With $7.8 million this weekend, the film is now closing in on the $50 million mark after three weekends in release.
Notably, Overture’s Sunshine Cleaning expanded into 479 theaters as it jumped to a weekend gross of $1.8 million, nearing the $5 million mark.
Year-to-date revenues jumped to a 14.5 percent advantage over last year with this weekend’s expected overall take estimated at $160 million, a whopping 67 percent increase over last year’s comparable weekend!
Next weekend has the comedy, action and family audiences covered with Seth Rogen in Observe and Report, Dragonball: Evolution and Hannah Montana in her own movie called, well, Hannah Montana: The Movie. It should be another great weekend at the box office as we cha-ching our way toward the first-ever $10 billion year at the North American box office.
THREE-DAY WEEKEND ESTIMATES
1. NEW! Fast & Furious (Universal) – $72.5M; 3461 theaters; $20,948 PTA
2. Monsters vs. Aliens (Paramount) – $33.5M; 4109 theaters; $8,155 PTA; -44%; $105.7M cume
3. The Haunting in Connecticut (Lionsgate) – $9.5M; 2732 theaters; $3,496 PTA; -58%; $37.2M cume
4. Knowing (Summit) – $8.1M; 3323 theaters; $2,447 PTA; -45%; $58.2M cume
5. I Love You, Man (Paramount) – $7.8M; 2829 theaters; $2,775 PTA; -38%; $49.2M cume
6. NEW! Adventureland (Miramax) – $6M; 1862 theaters; $3,228 PTA
7. Duplicity (Universal) – $4.3M; 2522 theaters; $1,705 PTA; -44%; $32.3M cume
8. Race to Witch Mountain (Disney) – $3.3M; 2825 theaters; $1,186 PTA; -42 %; $58.3M cume
9. 12 Rounds (Fox) – $2.3M; 2331 theaters; $987 PTA; -57%; $9M cume
10. Sunshine Cleaning (Overture) – $1.8M; 479 theaters; $3,923 PTA; 47%; $4.7M cume