'Fast & Furious' leads 'Hangover' in big-budget movie battle

Sun May 26, 2013 2:58pm EDT
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By Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud

(Reuters) - The speed demons of "Fast & Furious 6" raced ahead of the hard-partying "Hangover" gang in a battle between two male-oriented movie franchises, setting up the car chase sequel for a big holiday weekend win at U.S. and Canadian box offices.

"Fast & Furious 6" rang up an estimated $98.5 million in domestic ticket sales from Friday through Sunday and was speeding toward $122.5 million by the end of Monday's U.S. Memorial Day holiday, distributor Universal Pictures projected.

Comedy sequel "The Hangover Part III" brought in $42.4 million from Friday through Sunday, according to studio estimates, and was likely to finish with $64 million through Monday, after a Thursday opening.

Last weekend's box office leader, sci-fi sequel "Star Trek Into Darkness," fell to third place with $38 million through Sunday and was headed toward $48 million through Monday.

The movies charged up the North American box office, putting ticket sales on pace for a Memorial Day weekend record. Receipts for all films could reach $323 million through Monday, according to Hollywood.com, shattering the 2011 record of $276.3 million.

"A perfect storm of hits led to this incredible weekend with going out to the movies proving itself to be the first choice for outside-of-the-home entertainment," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Hollywood.com's box office division.

The sixth installment of "Fast & Furious" blew past pre-weekend forecasts for $80 million in domestic sales over four days by nearly 50 percent. The five previous films grossed $1.6 billion combined.

Set in London, the new film stars Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto, a now-retired professional criminal who reunites his crew with U.S. Diplomatic Security Service agent Luke Hobbs, played by Dwayne Johnson. The group works to take down a criminal outfit of mercenary drivers scattered across 12 countries.   Continued...

Cast member and producer Vin Diesel poses at the premiere of the new film, "Fast & Furious 6" at Universal Citywalk in Los Angeles May 21, 2013. REUTERS/Fred Prouser