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Biggest opening of the year goes to ‘Fast Five’

“Fast Five” sped off with the biggest opening of the year at the North American box office, earning about $83.6 million during its first three days.

“Fast Five,” the latest entry in the “Fast and the Furious” franchise, sped off with the biggest opening of the year at the North American box office, earning about $83.6 million during its first three days.

The opening exceeded industry estimates in the $70 million area, and boosted the flagging fortunes of both its distributor, Universal Pictures, and the overall industry.

Heading into the weekend, ticket sales so far this year were off 17 percent and attendance was down 18 percent. The biggest opening of the year was previously $39 million for the cartoon “Rio” — coincidentally set in the same Brazilian city as “Fast Five.”

Universal had the smallest market share of the six major studios last year. The studio said “Fast Five” set a new company record, surpassing the $72.1 million of “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” in 1997. (Figures are not adjusted for inflation.)

Boasting a price tag of about $125 million, “Fast Five” reunites Vin Diesel and Paul Walker in a high-octane series of car chases set in Rio De Janeiro.

 
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