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Fast & Furious 5 sets US opening record, Thor dominates internationally

Fast & Furious 5

Story by Jack Foley

FAST & Furious 5: Rio Heist – aka Fast Five – has become the highest grossing April opener of all-time in the US, after racing to an $83.6 million opening at the box office.

The figures are the best of the year so far and represent the top number ever for distributor Universal.

And they come on top of another strong week of international performance, where the fifth film in the franchise grossed a further $45.3 million from 14 territories, bringing its international figure to $81.4 million and its world-wide total to $165 million.

In what proved a hugely profitable weekend globally for new releases, Marvel’s Thor also opened strong outside of the US and broke into the record books.

The Kenneth Branagh directed superhero movie, which opens in the US on May 6, won the international weekend by grossing $83 million from 56 markets, including Australia, where the movie’s total take is already $93 million, and the UK.

Animated movie Rio also continued to dazzle, ending the weekend with a world-wide total of $366 million.

In the US, the film held onto second spot with a figure of $14.4 (it has now made $103.6 million in just three weeks States-side), while overseas it grossed $31.7 million for a total foreign gross of 263 million.

The main headlines, however, belong to Fast & Furious 5 and Universal, whose president of domestic distribution, Nikki Rocco, commented: “It all came together brilliantly. This is such a big deal, considering how depressed business has been.

“We made a number of strategic decisions along the way about what this movie was going to be. And then you had this brilliant marketing campaign which told people this wasn’t just another sequel.”

Directed by Justin Lin, and reuniting franchise stars Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster and Tyrese Gibson, as well as introducing Dwayne Johnson into the mix, Fast & Furious 5 easily eclipsed the $70.5 million earned by fourth film, Fast & Furious, during its opening weekend.

It cost an estimated $125-$150 million to produce, according to estimates.

Of the weekend’s other new releases in the US, Disney’s Prom opened to a disappointing $5 million and came in fifth behind Fast Five, Rio, Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family and Water for Elephants.

While 3D toon Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil grossed an estimated $4.1 million to finish just outside the top five.

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