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Fast Five, Then Thor, Storm the Box-Office
by Christopher Stone

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Paul Walker says Match-Flickers

Paul Walker says Match-Flickers
All things considered, the Weekend of April 29-May 1 didn't work out too well for Public Enemy Number One, Osama bin Laden, but, for President Obama, and for the box-office, the good times rolled.

At least, they did for newcomer FAST FIVE. This latest entry in the FAST AND FURIOUS franchise debuted with a smoking - and then some - $86.2 million, giving the box-office its biggest opening of the year, and blazing past its progenitor, FAST AND FURIOUS'S $71 MILLION START.

Even better, FAST FIVE gave its distributor, Universal Pictures, its highest-grossing opening weekend ever, easily topping the studio's previous record-holder, THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK ($72.1 million).

Even as FAST FIVE sizzled, the other new April 29-May 1 releases fizzled. PROM went stag, garnering a "not cool enough for high school," $4.7 million. HOODWINKED TOO! HOOD VS. EVIL had the wool pulled over its eyes, selling only a
Disney's PROM went stag, fizzling, not sizzling.

Disney's PROM went stag, fizzling, not sizzling.
scant $4.1 million in tickets.

Holdover releases did far better than the aforementioned second and third place new entries. RIO flew high, adding nearly $15 million to its already impressive tally. MADEA'S FAMILY was $9.8 million happier when the April 29-May 1 weekend ended, and WATER FOR ELEPHANTS hydrated another $9.3 million, as April closed and May began.

After a pathetic first quarter, the box-office truly bounced back in April. With $791 million in ticket sales, the month was the biggest April ever, and up a fine 5 percent over the same month, last year. It was also the first April in many years when the industry bettered the March that preceded it.

Following the weekend of May 1, I was wondering, exactly what generated FAST FIVE's blistering box-office heat? I understand that part of a Match-Flicker's fun at the movies is getting to see things blow up. I also get it that audiences thrill
THOR wore the B.O crown over Mother's Day.

THOR wore the B.O crown over Mother's Day.
to see two action stars, in this case, Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson, pitted against one another. Let's face it, in days gone by, we never saw Bruce Willis pitted against Arnold; nor did we see Rambo VS. ROBOCOP. Also, FAST FIVE acquitted itself rather well with the critics, garnering many good to excellent reviews. But is there another reason why this fifth FURIOUS installment scorched the box-office and sent us running for the nearest multiplex?

Co-star Paul Walker, who has a largish fan-base of his own, has his own thought about why the fifth in this series is an engine-roaring box-office and critical success. "Our franchise has never taken itself too seriously," he says. "....and people want to escape."

After FAST FIVE, what does the box-office do for an encore? Over Mother's Day Weekend, the box-office and Match-Flickers did THOR. Although Marvel Comics' God of Thunder wasn't as loud as FAST
4th-placed SOMETHING BORROWED wasn't blue.

4th-placed SOMETHING BORROWED wasn't blue.
FIVE, the lesser super hero coined a thunderous $66 million in box-office gold and that aint multiplex hay!

THOR's 3D presentation on a record-breaking 2737 screens accounted for a whopping sixty percent of the total gross, with 214 IMAX 3D venues kicking in an additional $6.6 million.

FAST FIVE hit the brakes, slowing down sixty-two percent for its second frame, but still adding a very strong $32.5 million to its domestic take.

Perhaps residually benefiting from the afterglow of Royal Wedding fever, two wedding-themed flicks, JUMPING THE BROOM and SOMETHING BORROWED married the third and fourth box-office spots, respectively, over Mother's Day Weekend.

RIO flew high enough to hold onto fifth position by a beak.

The holiday weekend also saw two holdovers, INSIDIOUS and SOURCE CODE surpass the $50 million mark. Maybe Jake Gyllenhaal's next gig won't be dinner theater in Bakersfield, CA, after all.

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May 14, 2011 5:31 PM
[X] delete
Since these came out Bridesmaids has been released and I guess it should be added to the stupid, silly, useless - you get my drift - column. Who's financing this tripe?

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The Business of Show
Every other Friday

Does advertising, public taste, or overindulged stars determine a movie's box office fate? Christoper Stone explores what's going on behind the box office.

Other Columns
Other columns by Christopher Stone:

The Cautionary Box-Office

Box-Office Holiday Season Heads Up. Part Two

Box-Office Holiday Season Heads Up, Part 1

Quality Is Independent

Oh, the Horror!

All Columns

Christopher Stone
Christopher Stone is the author of the international best seller Re-Creating Your Self. With Mary Sheldon, he co-authored three highly successful hardcover books of guided meditations.

He is a member of the Writers Guild of America, West.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Christopher Stone by clicking here.

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