‘Fast & Furious 6’ Leads Record Memorial Day Weekend

“Fast & Furious 6” was the the top film at theaters in North America during the U.S. Memorial Day weekend, taking in $117 million, a record for Comcast Corp. (CMCSA)’s Universal Pictures.

The film, which also had the second-biggest opening this year, topped Warner Bros.’ comedy “The Hangover Part III,” which had sales of $50.3 million, Hollywood.com Box-Office said in a statement today.

The new installments of these popular franchises helped boost sales to the biggest Memorial Day weekend, according to Hollywood.com. For Universal, the success of “Fast & Furious 6” bodes well for its ranking among U.S. studios: It was second with $495.2 million in domestic revenue through May 23, according to Box Office Mojo. Walt Disney Co. was first with $655.8 million.

“It’s very rare for a sixth franchise, which is more than a decade old, to do so well,” said Gitesh Pandya, chief executive officer of Boxofficeguru.com. “It started out as a low-budget film, and over time has transformed itself into a James Bond for the youth.”

He also credited its success to the fact it appealed to an ethnically diverse audience as well as women, who made of up 49 percent of the audience.

“That’s very high for a macho-type movie,” he said.

International Crime

In “Fast & Furious 6,” federal agent Luke Hobbs, played by Dwayne Johnson, reunites with a team of car-heist experts to battle an international crime organization. Regulars Vin Diesel and Paul Walker return in their roles as Hobbs’s unlikely allies.

The first five films in the series generated $1.59 billion in worldwide ticket sales, according to Box Office Mojo.

“The Hangover Part III” is billed as the last in the raunchy comedies about the misadventures of three globe-trotting buddies played by Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis and Bradley Cooper. In the new film, one of the trio is kidnapped and held hostage to force the other two to locate recurring bad guy Mr. Chow, played by Ken Jeong.

“The bad reviews reinforced the fact that the film wasn’t that funny,” Pandya said. Audiences were already disappointed from the previous film and had already “checked out,” he said.

Weekend Sales

Weekend sales for “The Hangover Part III” excluded revenue from its May 23 opening. The film’s domestic total through May 27 was $62.1 million, according to Hollywood.com.

The weekend’s other new film, News Corp. (NWSA)’s animated “Epic,” was fourth with sales of $42.8 million. The film tells the story of a teenage girl who finds herself in a battle with evil forces that seek to destroy the natural world.

The voices of Beyonce Knowles, Amanda Seyfried, Josh Hutcherson and Colin Farrell are featured.

“Star Trek Into Darkness,” the second film in J.J. Abrams’s reboot of the franchise, dropped to third place from first with $47.2 million in sales for Viacom Inc. (VIAB)’s Paramount Pictures. Made for about $190 million, the sequel has taken in $156 million domestically since it opened on May 16, according to Hollywood.com.

“Iron Man 3” from Disney’s Marvel fell to fifth place from second with sales of $24.7 million for the four days.

The film has generated $1.15 billion worldwide since it opened on May 3. The movie took in $174.1 million that weekend, the biggest opening year to date.

The following table has U.S. movie box office figures provided by studios to Hollywood.com Box-Office. The amounts are based on gross ticket sales from May 24 to May 27.

                     Rev.            *Avg./   *Pct.   Total
Movie               (mln)  Theaters  Theater   Chg.   (mln)  Wks
================================================================
 1 FAST & FURIOUS   $117.0  3,658  $26,620     --    $117.0   1
 2 HANGOVER I         50.3  3,555   11,722     --      62.1   1
 3 STAR TREK SS       47.2  3,907    9,545    -47     156.0   2
 4 EPIC               42.8  3,882    8,638     --      42.8   1
 5 IRON MAN 3         24.7  3,424    5,644    -46     372.8   4
 6 THE GREAT GATSBY   17.0  3,090    4,383    -43     117.8   3
 7 MUD                 2.5    712    2,727    -13      15.1   5
 8 42                  1.7    915    1,376    -55      91.5   7
 9 THE CROODS          1.6  1,008    1,210    -60     179.7  10
10 OBLIVION            1.0    572    1,521    -63      87.5   6
11 OZ THE GREAT        0.9    401    1,625    -25     232.4  12
12 PAIN & GAIN         0.8  1,003      641    -80      48.7   5

*Average per theater and percentage change above are based on
three days.

Top 12 Films Grosses

   This Week     Year Ago      Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
    $307.6        $185.2       +66

Year-to-date Revenue

     2013          2012
      YTD           YTD        Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
    $3,936        $4,250      -7.4

Year-to-date Attendance:     -7.2%

Source: Hollywood.com Box-Office

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael White in Los Angeles at mwhite8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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