For weeks, I was thinking that this Memorial Day Weekend had a good shot at becoming the single highest grossing weekend ever. And while it ultimately fell just a few million dollars short of that lofty goal, it was still an enormous weekend, and by far the biggest of 2013. It also showed us the fascinating divergence of two franchises headed in completely opposite directions. And one of those franchises, Fast and Furious, led the way.
Fast and Furious 6
As I said in my May Movie Preview, I love this franchise because it throws out every single rule. Its massive success, and how the past three installments have gotten bigger and bigger, laugh in the face of how franchises are supposed to behave. Fast and Furious 6 beat the entire lifetime gross of Tokyo Drift in two days. Over the three day weekend, FAF6 grossed a mammoth $98.5 million. That gross is slightly inflated by this being a holiday weekend, but I still think it would’ve opened around $90 million on a normal weekend.
This gross represents a solid increase over the $86 million debut of Fast Five, and as a result FAF6 shouldn’t have much trouble beating its predecessor’s total either. This franchise continues to give its audience exactly what they want, though one wonders just how big and outrageous it can get before it goes too far. However, especially with *spoiler*Jason Statham*spoiler* appearing in the next entry, I think people will show up in big numbers once again. FAF6 led the way, but it was the other films of the weekend that needed to perform a bit better to give this weekend the title of biggest ever. However, some of them, especially our runner up, fell short.
The Hangover Part III managed a weak $42.4 million this weekend. That’s even less than what the first film in the series did back in 2009 and it’s not even half of what Part II did on this weekend two years ago. The backlash against the lackluster sequel is quite obvious here, though it’s not like this was a total disaster. After opening on Thursday, THP3 has pulled in $54.2 million and will ultimately end up being profitable, though not from domestic grosses alone.
Dropping 46%, Star Trek Into Darkness grossed $38 million this weekend. That’s a bigger drop than its predecessor, but there’s a hell of a lot more competition this weekend. After ten days, the total stands at $147 million and I think $200 million is within reach, though the $257 million total of the first Star Trek is definitely not.
Epic debuted in fourth with a solid $34.2 million. As the first animated film directed at families and kids in over two months, this isn’t a surprising number. It’s a noticeable improvement over the $23 million debut of Rise of the Guardians last year. With this debut, I think Epic shouldn’t have much trouble getting over $100 million.
Fifth place goes to the now four week old Iron Man 3, which was down 46% to $19.4 million. The legs on IM3 haven’t been anything special, though this has been an extremely competitive May. With a total of $368 million now, I’m thinking Tony Stark should finish around $405 million.
The Great Gatsby dropped 43% and grossed $13.7 million to lift its total to $114 million. Based on its current path, Gatsby should end around $135 million. Mud actually moved up a spot to seventh by virtue of its tiny 14% drop. $1.9 million this weekend gives it a total of $14.5 million.
The final three spots of the top ten all belong to spring films enjoying their last ride, although all three fell hard. 42 dropped 56% to $1.25 million for a total of $91 million. Down 60%, The Croods grossed $1.2 million and lifted its sum to $179 million. Finally, Oblivion crashed 65% and pulled in just $815,000. $87.3 million for the sci-fi flick.
Well, there you have it. The top twelve this weekend grossed a huge $252.7 million, though that was only good for the third biggest weekend ever, but that was only $6 million off the record. If Epic broke out or The Hangover Part III fell off a little bit less from its predecessor, maybe the record could’ve fallen. Nonetheless, this was a huge weekend and continued the very good May we’ve been having a rather tepid first four months of the year.
Next weekend is a bit of a breather, with Now You See Me and After Earth. The latter should open north of $30 million, but it’s not likely to be a big hit. But next weekend will likely be dominated by holdovers and there’s a solid chance that FAF6 repeats as champion. As always, I’ll be back next weekend. Until we meet again.