Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Weekend Box Office: 'Fast Five' Starts Off Summer With $83 Million Weekend

by Gabe Toro
May 1, 2011 5:21 AM
27 Comments
  • |

Hooray for Hollywood, or something. The 2011 box office finally snapped out of its doldrums with more reheated crap, “Fast Five” opening to a spectacular-for-Universal $83 million. The car blockbuster’s weekend surpasses “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” as the biggest opening weekend in Universal history, and with spectacular overseas results, the film is poised to do upwards of $400-$500 million globally, topping the $353 worldwide take of “Fast And Furious,” the last film in the series.

And that’s pretty much the whole story here. Universal snaps a losing streak, and the braindead chase/race movie series gains perhaps another installment, serving as a nice meal ticket for plank of wood Paul Walker and Daddy Bear Vin Diesel, who either can’t get anyone to see their other projects, or is too bent on pedaling their unlikely vanity projects, respectively. But the film, a collection of explosions and fisticuffs with the bare minimum of story, is likely to be as top-heavy as the last film in the franchise, which opened similarly huge only to plummet by 60% against feeble springtime competition.

“Fast Five” is only the first in a summer movie onslaught, as the picture takes on “Thor” next weekend, another film tracking above $60 million. While the race thriller has outpaced its superhero competition as both films have hit overseas, the international appeal of the Rio-set sequel might dwarf the enthusiasm on these shores, as the picture showed a definite downtrend after Friday’s boffo $33 million haul. Audiences have supposedly responded generously to the crowd-pleaser, but the marketplace is sparse, explaining elevated awareness.

Rio” easily passed $100 million for the weekend, though the film looks like its on the way out. The Blue Sky offering took a hit mostly because the 3D screens were surrendered for “Hoodwinked Too” (more on that later). “Rio” is going to remain the top family attraction for most of May, but every weekend brings a new 3D tentpole, so the chances of out-grossing the domestic numbers of “Robots,” the weakest performer in the Blue Sky stable, are stable but not entirely promising. These guys haven’t produced a loser yet, and international numbers are much stronger, but this is a fairly muted reception for a CG-toon.

Though Tyler Perry has built a cottage industry around his films, they remain opening weekend pictures, so it wasn’t a surprise to see “Madea’s Big Happy Family” crash and burn by almost 60% in weekend two. The luster is off the Madea character with the ceiling reached years ago, so the non-devoted are away that this is niche product. Perry rode the Madea train a bit too long, and with the failure to develop any other mainstream properties viable enough to lead a series of movies, the realization that Perry could only fluke-launch one character to pop-culture prominence would prove to be his undoing. Perry’s far from done, of course, and it trying to transition into the blockbuster world with “I, Alex Cross,” but if that picture fails, Perry might have to settle for making billions in television and not movies.

Water For Elephants” held steady, providing the adult/elderly alternative. Hard to say the film is playing to young “Twi-hards” as well, since they roundly ignored Robert Pattinson in “Remember Me,” and it’s hard to see them going crazy for Reese Witherspoon when to that age group, she’s, like, ancient. They could be looking at $50 million domestic, which is unusually strong for a studio drama in April, so this is a boon for director Francis Lawrence (“I Am Legend"), who keeps himself in consideration for a number of potential tentpole releases seeking directors with no obvious storytelling skill.

THUD and a PLOP for the weekend’s other two wide releases. Disney thought they had a hit on their hands with “Prom,” but it may have been too specific a demographic play. Young kids want to see younger kids (and animals) in action, and older kids at the “Prom“ age range have graduated to movies for adults. You know, like “Fast Five.” A film centered around a very specific rite of passage has to have universal appeal, and it didn’t play to anyone outside that narrow, fickle niche. “Prom” didn’t cost Disney much, so they’ll be fine once the DVD hits.

Not so for The Weinstein Company, who saw their long-shelved “Hoodwinked Too! Hood Vs. Evil” debut to anemic opening frame numbers. Perception is everything for the Weinsteins, so they may not be bothered by the notion that people have been ready to ignore this film long in advance. But how’s this for perception: “Hoodwinked Too” is poised to register the worst-ever wide opening for a 3D picture. It was five and a half years ago that the original film grabbed over $50 million stateside, not the type of numbers that promise a brand-strength or interest in a franchise, so selling this movie as the continuation of a series and not its own thing was a mistake.

With the lowest drop in the top ten, “Soul Surfer” continued to bring in solid family audiences, and should round out at $40 million, though the rest of the top ten is clearly just product waiting to be escorted out of the marketplace by the summertime glut. “Source Code” is putting up solid numbers and should cross $50 million next weekend, while “Hop” fell off the Earth with a dismal post-Easter drop. Neither is as much of a success story as “Insidious.” By next weekend, Film District’s first-ever release will fall out of the top ten, though it’s also expected to hit $50 million domestically. With a budget of $1.5 million and solid receipts from international presales, the film is easily one of the year’s most profitable.

In semi-limited release, “Dylan Dog: Dead Of Night” registered feeble numbers. 875 theaters brought the low-profile release a $885k take, though this title seems like it was earmarked for bigger international grosses, as it's based on a massively popular Italian comic, and because Brandon Routh is HUGE in Bangkok. Werner Herzog's "Cave Of Forgotten Dreams" also debuted, grabbing $127k on only five screens, the week's best per-screen performer at $25k-per. "Exporting Raymond" had a wider berth, popping up on thirteen screens, though the film only managed $36k, while "Lebanon, PA" enticed $7k worth of moviegoers at two engagements. Support your local arthouse, boys and girls.

1. The Five Fastest (Universal) - $83.6 million
2. Rio 3D (Fox) - $14.4 million ($104 mil.)
3. Tyler Perry's Got No Problem Replicating Aunt Jemima Iconography (Lionsgate) - $10 million ($41 mil.)
4. Gatorade For Elephants (Fox) - $9.1 million ($32 mil.)
5. Prom (Disney) - $5 million
6. Hoodwinked Too: There Was A Hoodwinked One? (Weinstein) - $4.1 million
7. Shark Bait Girl (Sony) - $3.3 million ($34 mil.)
8. Insidious (FilmDistrict) - $2.7 million ($48 mil.)
9. Hop (Universal) - $2.6 million ($105 mil.)
10. Source Code (Summit) - $2.5 million ($49 mil.)

Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    

27 Comments

  • Christopher Bell | May 2, 2011 10:13 AMReply

    No matter what it is, any movie is a fucking pain in the ass to get together. So why wouldn't you try to make it as smart as possible? There's no excuse for stupidity. Something can be fun and intelligent at the same time.

  • liana | May 2, 2011 9:10 AMReply

    someone's angry

  • ASFan | May 2, 2011 9:07 AMReply

    @Gabe

    Allow me to explain. Films like Fast Five are simply made to entertain, but the way you've been talking about it and other films like it suggests that it's never enough for you, that it's royally bad that it's sole purpose is to entertain, and that you think every film should be reaching for the stars.

  • jimmiescoffee | May 2, 2011 5:17 AMReply

    @Gabe Toro

    i read reviews sir. i also know a couple things about film. i didnt feel like writing a thesis about the true critical consensus of 'fast 5'

    my point was that the movie has garnered plenty respect and doesnt deserve to be talked down to. if the movie ended with.... "a michael mann film" you would be treating it differently. so please spare me.

  • Bangkokian | May 2, 2011 4:10 AMReply

    No, Brandon Routh is not HUGE in Bangkok (Nicolas Cage is).

  • Gabe Toro | May 2, 2011 2:32 AMReply

    "if it is meant just to entertain than it is not worthy of enjoying it."

    ...

    I do not understand this logic.

  • Alex P | May 2, 2011 1:50 AMReply

    One of the more amusing bits of this is the commenters freaking out on the site about being ignorant and what not, and yet not realizing (and therefore being just as ignorant, if not more so) the Playlist actually gave Fast Five a positive review and a B grade.

    Maybe they should realize that Gabe Toro, the guy who gave the review and the site do not all share a brain, but I guess you would be ok to excuse people with functioning frontal lobes for thinking that.

  • ERIC MAYHER | May 2, 2011 1:48 AMReply

    Hey eric bro bro maybe you didn't see the part where I said I enjoy lot of the writing on this site my issue is with the attitude from some of the writers on this site having this attitude that if it is meant just to entertain than it is not worthy of enjoying it. So guess what I have a right to come to this site and enjoy it for what it is and when something bothers me I have a right to comment on it and Gabe and the other writers have a right to not care and keep on doing what they do.

  • PM | May 1, 2011 12:36 PMReply

    Now the conversation is getting interesting!

    If I HAPPEN to look at the tomatometer, I read the reviews to understand WHY the number is what it is. And guess what? A lot of the times, they select one quote from the full review that has ONE positive word about the movie, and give it . . . well, a ripe tomato or whatever you want to call it. Or vice versa. So you can't even trust the site to use its own aggregation system correctly!

    I studied film theory and you'd think these reviewers never saw a film in their life, let alone understand the history of film. It's sad. Most of them, I can only assume, are bough reviews. (Remember the scandal when some of the studios fabricated reviews?)

    I used to go to see movies ALL THE TIME. I think in the last year or so, I've only gone twice. That's how disinterested I am in the batch of films that have gone out lately. Now yes, I'm a self-admitted geek and like the comic book movies aka tentpoles as well as indies, but I still don't go to all because a lot of the time, they're not good! (Forgive me, I'm complicated.)

    Yes, sometimes I disagree with the reviews here. Sometimes I think, "Why, that's a bit snooty." But guess what, if you get me talking about film, I'm a bit snooty too! It's just me spouting my opinion.

    But if I'm called out on something, if I'm proven wrong, I'll admit it. But reviews are OPINIONS, and hopefully based on some knowledge. If you back up your argument well, I'll keep reading your reviews.

    Hence, I come back here and read a lot. And comment more than I do anywhere else.

    And what a refreshing site this is that we're debating true film commentary!

    (Just want to say I can't comment on FF - I haven't seen it, don't plan to. I guess I'm not the demographic.)

  • Gabe Toro | May 1, 2011 12:16 PMReply

    Jesus fucking Christ. It is fucking STUNNING how many people are a slave to "the critics" and "the tomatometer." Somewhere along the line, people have stopped regarding reviews as "writing about film" and started counting them as "positive or negative."

    79% Tomatometer doesn't mean everyone thought the movie was great. It means some thought it was great, some thought it was passable, and some were probably pressured into giving a good review. Do you look at a number, or do you actually READ the reviews?

    Most of the Fast Five reviews seem to be, Well, it's a summer blockbuster, and things explode. Because, for some critics and audiences, that must be all you need. And if you REALLY REALLY love movies (like we do), you'd like a lot more bang for your buck. Understand that I don't speak for the entire staff in regards to Fast Five, but I saw it last week, and I've already forgotten everything about it.

    So please, all due respect to this conversation, but there's a difference between "all the critics love it" and "there's a corresponding number on some website the shows just how many people didn't hate this movie!"

  • Eric bro... bro | May 1, 2011 11:53 AMReply

    I never understand people like Eric Mayher. If you disagree with Gabe, then disagree and debate (or whatever), but when you start attacking this web site itself and how it's written, that's when any sane and balanced human being can (and will) pull the ole "THERE'S PLENTY OF INTERNETS OUT THERE, DON'T COME HERE FOR THE BOX OFFICE RUNDOWN ANYMORE, YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE GETTING WHEN YOU CLICK ON YOUR 'THE PLAYLIST' BOOKMARK, STOP RUINING YOUR INTERNET-SURFING EXPERIENCE" card.

  • PM | May 1, 2011 10:53 AMReply

    Looks like foreign box office numbers are all the rage right now. Especially between FF and Thor. (sorry guys, got to link to Deadline) http://www.deadline.com/2011/05/thor-or-fast-five-1-in-foreign-markets-while-studios-wage-global-war-of-words/

  • jimmiescoffee | May 1, 2011 9:28 AMReply

    'fast five' has 79% positive on RT. get over it. not everything has to be an ode to tarkovsky

  • ASFan | May 1, 2011 9:14 AMReply

    @J.J.

    The term guilty pleasure arises when certain snobs, like some of the writers on this site, make you feel guilty for liking something.

  • ERIC MAYHER | May 1, 2011 8:49 AMReply

    Exactly J.J I like alot of the wrting on this site but there are times it seems like the utter condestion is just too much and it really makes me mad and they don't even do their research before they write this stuff like the comments on Fast Five. They are like the birthers of movie websites sometimes. Don't let the facts get in the way of beliefs.

  • J.J. | May 1, 2011 8:13 AMReply

    I actually really enjoy this site. The articles are, usually, very well written. And you can pretty much count on unbiased reviews. Most sites now seem to be run by wannabe movie moguls with not so subtle agendas. That being said, sometimes it does seem like you have to be a HATER of movies to get through some of the stuff written on this site. Why not appreciate movies for what they are, escapist fun. Why the relentless spewing of venom for so called "guilty pleasures" and the actors who star in them? And another thing, if you enjoy something why should you feel guilty about it?

  • ERIC MAYHER | May 1, 2011 7:54 AMReply

    @pm

    Yeah I feel the same way. I hope it connects but fear it might not. I and a friend of mine have been saying all along that this is not the easy sell for marvel that Iron Man was. And the other fear is that fast five wasn't a start to a box office uptick and people are going to be hit and miss all summer or only go to the movies every few weeks. We will see.

  • ASFan | May 1, 2011 7:40 AMReply

    Fast Five will not have the kind of multiplier the last F&F film had. It's a stronger film in every way it counts.

    Also, the main reason there was a downtrend from Friday into Saturday is the midnight number.

    At least the person who reviewed the movie here has an understanding of the term guilty pleasure.

  • PM | May 1, 2011 7:20 AMReply

    @EricMayher

    I stand corrected on foreign b.o. Last I checked (recently), it wasn't ahead of FF given that it's a new franchise and not a sequel. I'm a big comics fan, so this actually makes me happy. (Self-admitted geek.)

    However, I still fear it won't connect as well here. I again hope I am wrong. I just wonder if it will be another Tron: Legacy in that it does OK, but doesn't meet Disney/Marvel expectations. But if foreign b.o. is any indication, maybe the tide has turned.

  • ERIC MAYHER | May 1, 2011 7:16 AMReply

    Hey Gabe thanks for proving my point. Should I put quotes around 'pretentious a-holes' also.

  • Gabe Toro | May 1, 2011 7:03 AMReply

    No one here said Thor is "flopping."

    Also... "critics."

  • ERIC MAYHER | May 1, 2011 6:55 AMReply

    God you guys really are pretenious a-holes at this website. Fast Five 78& at Rotten Tomtoes. That means critics liked it. I am sure that means they are a bunch of low standared mouthbreathers too like us audiences huh. Hey if I start to hate movies can I write for this website?. And hey Pm check this weekends overseas for Thor. Number 1 and 83 million. Yeah it is just flopping overseas sure.

  • PM | May 1, 2011 6:38 AMReply

    @J.J.

    I was thinking more domestic for Thor. Yes, sequels do better overseas, but what's shocking is that FF did so well here. For a fourth sequel, very shocking.

    If audiences are loosening up their wallets, it could bode well for Thor. But I still think it's not going to be a major blockbuster. Hopefully I'm proven wrong.

  • J.J. | May 1, 2011 6:33 AMReply

    With an A from Cinemascore and an A+ from under 18 viewers, I doubt FF5 will drop as much as you guys think. It'll play for a few weeks and top out at 220 million. Thor will not flop. It's already made over 90 million overseas. FF5 is beating it overseas because it's a sequel with two leads, Diesel and Johnson, who are pretty popular outside the states.

  • PM | May 1, 2011 6:14 AMReply

    Disney has got to be quaking in its boots with the domestic success of FF. Thor couldn't keep up overseas, and now it appears the numbers could repeat here.

    The trailers didn't help. Portman's most recent pic was a flop and they're keeping her hidden now. And Thor's "elevated" dialogue and approach could turn off the FF crowd. Plus, the public spent their hard earned dollars this weekend on FF. Will they do it again for Thor next weekend? Can they afford it, especially at 3D prices?

    I'm not saying that Thor will be a complete flop, but it could be Marvel's first true disappointment. Let's face it - if they didn't need Thor for The Avengers, this movie would've never been made.

  • Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge | May 1, 2011 6:01 AMReply

    Woooo! Fast Five is absolutely breathtaking!

    Oh, God, the only thing that’s going through my head to describe this movie, it’s like sex with an orgasm at the end of it! Whereas the first four movies were like you have sex but you never get the orgasm. A lot of stopping and starting but… oh, I wish I hadn’t said that.

  • Breckinridge | May 1, 2011 6:00 AMReply

    Fast Five is one of the year’s best films. It is f*****g epic.
    The fight between Vin Diesel/Dwayne Johnson knocked everyone on their ass and were so amazing and action-packed, audiences all over the world were left breathless.

Email Updates