Outracing even the most optimistic projections, 'Fast Five' set a new record for the best April opening ever, zooming to the top of the box office chart with an estimated $83.6 million. Five installments in, the 'Fast' franchise is clearly far from running out of gas.
Before this weekend, the previous April record holder was 2009's 'Fast and Furious,' which launched with $71 million, marking the best debut of the four films in the series at that time. The fifth movie was expected to open in the same ballpark, but it seems fans clearly wanted to get a jump on a summer action movie season that doesn't officially begin until next weekend. (Also, this one took in extra cash from many bookings at IMAX venues; about 10 percent of the weekend total came from the ultra-large screens.) Besides being the biggest April opening weekend and biggest 'Fast' opening, 'Fast Five' also set a record for the the biggest single-day April opening, with an estimated $33.2 million earned Friday. And it's far and away the biggest opening weekend of 2011, though that record isn't likely to last through the summer.