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'Fast & Furious 6' fuels biggest ever Memorial Day weekend box office

The latest installment of the 'Fast & Furious' franchise blew past the runner up, 'The Hangover Part III', bringing in an estimated $120 million since Thursday.
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UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - MAY 21: (L-R) Actor/rapper Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges, actress Gal Gadot and actor/producer Vin Diesel pose at the after party for the premiere of Universal Pictures' "Fast & Furious 6" at the Gibson Amphitheatre on May 21, 2013 in Universal City, California. (KEVIN WINTER/AFP/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES — Moviegoers spent Memorial Day weekend revved up to see the latest installment of the "Fast & Furious" franchise, boosting box office figures to a record total for a four-day holiday weekend.

"Fast & Furious 6" was the runaway winner this weekend with an expected total of $120 million through Monday evening.

The franchise ran circles around the runner up, the third installment of the raunchy "Hangover" comedy series.

"The Hangover Part III" fell short of expectations, bringing in only an estimated $63 million since its debut Wednesday night.

It's a far drop from the $135 million that "The Hangover Part II" grossed during the Memorial Day holiday weekend in 2011.

Even the relatively small-time original "Hangover" film debuted with a respectable $45 million in just three days in 2009.

Family-friendly film, "Epic" rounded out the box office totals for the weekend. The 3-D animated film grossed $42.6 million over the four-day weekend.

The three new films, with help from audiences still flocking to see the "Star Trek" sequel, "Iron Man 3" and "The Great Gatsby", brought the total box office figures to a record $316 million, according to Hollywood.com. The figures are estimates of total ticket sales from from Friday evening through Monday.

This year's holiday weekend smashes 2011's figure of $276.8 million.

Despite the big boost and a slew of upcoming summer movies, audience figures for 2013 are still down 7 percent from last year.

"Fast & Furious 6" may owe some of its box office success to Universal Pictures' success in courting a more diverse audience.

According to TheWrap, the studio paid special attention to forging a multicultural, bilingual cast that would appeal to a broad audience.

"We're the Benetton of casting," Jeffrey Kirschenbaum, Universal Pictures co-president of production, told TheWrap.

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