Box office: Fast Five does High hit on The Records

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"Fast Five" ran over the competition at the box office this past weekend, shifting movie ticket sales into high gear for the first time this year.

The first big-budget studio tent-pole film of the summer season grossed $83.6 million, according to an estimate from distributor Universal Pictures. That marks the biggest opening of the year, speeding past the $39.2-million debut of 20th Century Fox's "Rio" last month.

"Fast Five," the fifth installment of the popular street-racing franchise, lapped the other two new films that debuted in wide release. Not many moviegoers showed up to Disney's "Prom," which collected a weak $5 million. The animated 3-D sequel "Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil" also fared poorly, opening to $4.1 million — far less than what 2005's "Hoodwinked" took in on its first weekend.

Heading into the weekend, the major question in the movie industry was whether "Fast Five" would be able to buck this year's box-office slump; as of last week, ticket sales in 2011 were down 17% compared to last year. Even though pre-release audience surveys had indicated that the film could gross over $75 million on its first weekend, Universal cautiously estimated a $60-million opening. Now the movie is helping to push the box office out of the doldrums. Ticket sales overall this weekend were up 52% compared to the same weekend last year, and year to date, sales are now off 14% compared to 2010.

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