If the estimates were accurate, more than 34 million Americans spent a portion of their holiday weekend on the road, probably as a symbolic salute to national values like arguing over music selections, eating at rest-stop combination fast food restaurants, and living life a quarter mile at a time. In all likelihood, many of those same intrepid travelers also drove to the multiplex, where they—and again, this is just probability—watched other people drive.
Yes, Fast & Furious 6 was the big winner of the long weekend, a four-day stretch that found moviegoers spreading their admission dollars across a wide swath of Hollywood pavement. (More money was spent at the movies during this Memorial Day weekend than any other in history, though that probably has at least something to do with cursed, expensive 3-D.) F&F6's impressive $120 million opening was the biggest for the franchise so far, continuing a trend that's seen every previous entry in the series—excepting that sputtering jalopy, Tokyo Drift—debut to better numbers than its predecessor. At this rate, next year's Fast & Furious 7 will be the highest grosser of the year, the inevitable Fast & Furious 8 will unseat Avatar on the all-time charts, and Fast & Furious 9 will become so popular that all other films will be destroyed in deference to its universal appeal. Vin Diesel will be our new God, like at the end of that other Vin Diesel franchise.
Screeching into a pretty distant second place was The Hangover Part III, which also devotes significant chunks of screen time to people driving. The comedy's $51 million haul (bumped up to $63 million, when Thursday receipts are counted) was nothing to sneeze (vomit?) at, especially given its R rating. But it's much less than the $85 million The Hangover Part II debuted to in 2011. At this rate, Todd Phillips may keep his promise to call it quits with three.
Provoking outbursts of unsportsmanlike laughter in the Pixar offices, Fox's Epic failed to live up to its title, pulling in a just-solid $33 million. (Don't worry parents, it'll probably still stay in theaters until Monsters University opens in a few weeks.) The take wasn't enough to beat Star Trek Into Darkness, which nabbed another $37 million in its second week, but it was enough to edge out the reigning summer champ, Iron Man 3 ($19 million).
Meanwhile, early best-damn-movie-of-the-year candidate Before Midnight earned a deserved $247,000 on just five screens. That one has some driving in it, too.
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.
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