They say the third time's the charm, but a certain "6" is expected to speed past the competition into first place this weekend.
Blockbuster season is officially in full swing. "Iron Man 3" has made more than $1 billion worldwide. "Star Trek Into Darkness" opened with $84.1 million. Now it's time for "The Fast & Furious 6" and "The Hangover III" to have their respective moments. The latest installment in the car-heavy action franchise is expected to cruise to #1, leaving the Wolf Pack settling for #2.
"Epic" will try to take some of that family business that "The Croods" has been hogging, while filmmaker Richard Linklater's "Before Midnight" (the followup to the acclaimed "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset") will open in limited release.
" 'Fast & Furious 6' arrives on the scene packing more punch than any franchise rightfully should on its sixth lap," Exhibitor Relations senior box-office analyst Jeff Bock told MTV News. " But this isn't your average Part 6, is it? '2 Fast 2 Furious' didn't have Vin Diesel and 'Tokyo Drift' didn't have either of the stars, so '6' really is '4' with Paul Walker and Diesel."
"While '6' usually translates to franchise fatigue, this series doesn't play by the rules, and Universal has done a great job beefing up each installment," he continued. "In 'Fast Five,' they added Dwayne Johnson and in '6' they brought Michelle Rodriguez's character back from the dead. Plus, instead of a car-racing series, 'Fast & Furious' has morphed into a heist-film franchise, extending its audience and lengthening its play-ability."
"Fast Five" grossed $626 million worldwide. "Fast & Furious 6" should collect more than $100 million during its first four days. Leading up to the film's release, Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez revealed plenty of secrets during a lively chat with MTV News. Universal already has a seventh "Fast & Furious" film lined up for next summer.
"Fast & Furious 6" has enjoyed mostly positive reviews, just like its predecessor. Unfortunately, "The Hangover III" has followed in the footsteps of its critically panned ancestor, "The Hangover Part II." Critics supported "Old School" writer/director Todd Phillips' 2009 surprise franchise starter "The Hangover," with the buddy comedy making a huge star out of Zach Galifianakis.
Bock likened the film's place in cinematic history to "Porky's III" and "Beverly Hills Cop III." "Comedy threequels never seem to live up to their billing. When all the funny bits are in the trailer, you've seriously drained all the water out of the fun-pool. ... When your biggest laugh comes after the end credits, you've got serious, serious issues. And that's exactly why it won't come close to Diesel and company at the box office this weekend."
"The Hangover III" should collect about $80 million by the end of Monday, which is a far cry from the $117 million made during first four days of the last one. Still, the final entry in the series should do well overseas; perhaps even better than "Part II."
Featuring the voices of Amanda Seyfried, Colin Farrell and Beyoncé, "Epic" is the latest animated comedy from 20th Century Fox's Blue Sky Studios, whose "Ice Age: Continental Drift" made $877.2 million. "Epic" should benefit from being the only widely released new family movie, after a long "How to Train Your Dragon"-like stretch where "The Croods" had no competition.
"'Epic' doesn't look like it will draw teens or adults with so much competition, but, families will be there in force," said Bock. "'Epic' could tally up $33 million this weekend and as much as $40 million over the long holiday."
As for last weekend's #1 film, "Star Trek Into Darkness" should drop by about 50 percent for a second-weekend total around $33 million. "Iron Man 3" will drop more than 50 percent most likely.