Fast X speeds to #1; knocks 'Guardians 3' to 2nd
Actor Vin Diesel (right) and Tyrese Gibson pose for photographers upon arrival at the world premiere of the film Fast X in Rome, Friday, May 12, 2023. (Photo: AP)

The 10th installment of the Fast and Furious franchise was off to the races this weekend, knocking Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 out of first place and easily claiming the top spot at the box office.

Fast X earned US$67.5 million in ticket sales from 4,046 North American cinemas, according to estimates from Universal Pictures on Sunday.

It's on the lower end of openings for the series which peaked with Furious 7's US$142.2-million launch, the sole movie in the series to surpass $100 million out of the gates.

Fast X's" domestic debut only ranks above the first three. The last movie, F9, opened to US$70 million in 2021.

But this is also a series that has usually made the bulk of its money internationally, often over 70 per cent. True to form, overseas it's on turbo drive. Fast X opened in 84 markets internationally, playing in over 24,000 cinemas, where it earned an estimated US$251.4 million. The top market was China with US$78.3 million, followed by Mexico with US$16.7 million. And it adds up to a US$319 million global debut — the third biggest of the franchise.

"It's a global franchise with a very broad audience," said Jim Orr, Universal's head of domestic distribution. "The themes resonate across the world."

Directed by Louis Leterrier (who took over from Justin Lin during production), Fast X brings back the familiar crew including Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, and Jordana Brewster and adds several newcomers, like Brie Larson, Rita Moreno, and a villain played by Jason Momoa. The ever-expanding cast also includes Jason Statham, Charlize Theron, Scott Eastwood, and Helen Mirren.

Reports say the movie cost US$340 million to produce, not including marketing.

Reviews were mixed for Fast X, the beginning of the end for the US$6-billion franchise, which currently has a 54 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes. AP's Mark Kennedy wrote in his review that, "It has become almost camp, as if it breathed in too much of its own fumes" and that it's also "monstrously silly and stupidly entertaining".

According to exit polls audienecs gave the film a B+ CinemaScore.

In its third weekend, Disney and Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3" made an estimated US$32 million in North America to take second place. It's now made US$266.5 million domestically and US$659.1 million globally.

Third place went to another Universal juggernaut, The Super Mario Bros Movie, which is now in its seventh weekend and available to rent on VOD. Nevertheless, it earned an additional US$9.8 million in North America, bringing its domestic total to US$549.3 million.

Book Club: The Next Chapter added US$3 million in its second weekend to take fourth place, while Evil Dead Rise rounded out the top five in its fifth weekend with US$2.4 million.

Fast X doesn't have an entirely open runway though. Next weekend there will be sizable competition in Disney's live-action The Little Mermaid, in addition to a slew of crowd-pleasers hoping to catch a Memorial Day weekend audience, including Julia Louis-Dreyfus in You Hurt My Feelings and the broad comedy About My Father, with Sebastian Maniscalco and Robert De Niro.

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