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Memorial Weekend Box Office: Fast 6 Speeds to Record Opening, Hangover III, Epic Hold Their Ground

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By Chris Kavan - 05/27/13 at 09:46 PM CT

It was a weekend of reflection and Hollywood reflected on a record weekend as well. With summer in full swing, Memorial Day weekend is one of the benchmarks to gauge the summer season and if this year is any indication, all signs point to an exceptional summer. While Iron Man 3 and Star Trek have managed to get off to an impressive start, three newcomers proved that they have what it takes to make an impressive run at the box office as well. How can we tell? Because this Memorial Day weekend ranks at the best ever since box office receipts have been totaled.

1) FAST & FURIOUS 6

Although I found the story to be over-the-top bordering on riduculous - guess what? That's exactly what audiences want to open their summer. With $120 million, Fast 6 is not only the best-opening film in the decade-long franchise, but the fourth best opening Memorial Day weekend film ever. The film also scored with audiences, given an overall A cinemascore, bumping up to an A+ amongst those under 25. Surprisingly, it was an almost even split between males and females (51% to 49%) meaning the franchise is pretty much guaranteed to be popular for the next few years (especially good given the 7th film has already been greenlit).

The film easily topped Fast Five's $86.19 million opening and, even if the film suffers a drop next week, should easily be able to rise to the most successful film in the franchise. Worldwide, the film had also been impressive - grosssing $317 million globally and it should continue to impress in coming weeks. All told, it seems this franchise is on the upswing and chances are good that we will see plenty of future installments.

2) THE HANGOVER PART III

Even though is may have underperformed at $51.2 million for the weekend, ($63 million with Thursday openings included) - it is still going to be seen as a win for the R-rated comedy market. It may not be able to match the $250 million total of the first two Hangover films (especially with a rather middling B cinemascore), but don't worry - even if domestic markets underperform, it will more than make back its budget with foreign totals thrown in. The Wolfpack may have lost some of its impact since the original film, but even if it's a letdown, it won't be too much of a slowdown.

3) STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS

The sci-fi smash only dropped 33% in its second weekend, taking in $47 million to bring its total up to $155.8 million in two weeks. While it is going to find it hard to reach the original film's $257.7 million - it should have little problem reaching the $200 million mark when all is said and done. Adding in a more robust foreign market, there is no doubt the film will be quite profitable and I have no doubt that another Star Trek will soon be on the horizon.

4) EPIC

The animated film opened to an estimated $42.6 million - beating most estimates - and helped the Memorial Day weekend box office top the $300 million mark for the first time. Without any direct competition (The Croods has been in theaters for ten weeks now), and an A cinemascore, the film, which had been predicted to open in the mid-$30 million range, topped expectations. The film is on track for a $150 million total - a great thing considering the $93 million budget.

5) IRON MAN 3

Tony Stark and co may have dropped another 31.9%, but don't feel too bad. The extra $24.3 million helped boost the film to a $372.4 million total. That total already tops the previous two films totals, and a $400 million total is expected. It has already broken the $1 billion world-wide box office and it should wind up as a great franchise total. It is a little early, but I predict this is going to be one of the biggest hits of 2013. For those who think super heroes are passe - think again. We'll see how this success rubs off on the upcoming Captain America and Thor films.

Outside the top five: The biggest news was the exceptional opening of Before Midnight, the third film for Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy (following Before Sunrise and Before Sunset), which opening with an excellent $64,383 per-theater average (in just five theaters) for a $321,914 total. The indie film has an excellent critical reception and should help it to a good total.

Meanwhile, another film managed to increase its week-to-week numbers. That would be the indie darling Mud, which, despite dropping out of 248 theaters, still managed to increase its percentage 8.7% - and rose from 8th to 7th position ($2.42 million) and increasing its total to just over $15 million. The Matthew McConaughey continue to show stayin power and a $20 million total is well within reach.

Next week sees two new films trying to gain attention. The M. Night Shyamalan sci-fi film starring Will and Jaden Smith, After Earth - looks to gain an audience without a sudden twist. On the other end, Now You See Me is a crime thriller with a well-rounded cast (including Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson and Morgan Freeman) with magic tricks (sorry, I mean ILLUSIONS) and bank robberies. I really want to know if Shyamalan can rebound from some poor showings recently or if audiences will give him the cold shoulder. The other big question will be if Fast 6 can hold onto an audience. Stay tuned.

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