The season of big summer tentpoles will kick off next weekend when Universal Pictures' sequel "Fast Five" will drive into domestic theaters. But overseas, that film and another big-budget studio movie, "Thor," have already begun to roll out and are having early success.
"Fast Five," the fifth movie in the franchise known for its high-speed car races, launched this past weekend in four international markets and collected a strong $24 million. The 3-D movie "Thor," meanwhile, opened only in Australia, where it lost the box-office race against "Fast Five."
"Fast Five" featuring Vin Diesel collected $10.7 million Down Under, outgrossing "Thor's" $5.8 million take there by 41%. That meant that "Thor" — which stars Chris Hemsworth in a film based on the Marvel comic book — opened to just 1% more than the most popular Marvel property, "Iron Man," did in Australia in 2008.
"Fast Five" also opened in Britain, New Zealand and Korea and was No. 1 in all of those markets as well. In all of the four countries where it debuted, the movie opened to a bigger number than any of the previous four films did when they opened in those same locations. In Britain, the movie grossed $8.8 million this past weekend, which was 6% more than the fourth "Fast & Furious" film collected when it premiered there in 2009.
As "Fast Five" opens stateside next weekend, it will also bow in 10 more international markets, including Germany and Russia. "Thor" will open in five additional international markets next weekend, including France and the Britain. It debuts in the U.S. on May 6.
— Amy Kaufman