Scott Bowles, USA TODAY
- Sixth film in franchise is biggest yet
- 'Hangover Part III' sees healthy business
- Hollywood does record business over the Memorial Day weekend
"Fast & Furious 6" spent the Memorial Day weekend revving the box office to record sales over the holiday.
The latest installment of the lead-footed franchise did a whopping $122.2 million over the holiday weekend, according to studio estimates from Hollywood.com. The bow is easily the largest debut yet for a series that has grossed $1.6 billion worldwide.
Analysts projected the Vin Diesel film would open to $80 million.
The opening gave "Furious" a surprisingly easy win over The "Hangover Part III," which also did healthy business on Hollywood's most important weekend at the box office outside Thanksgiving.
Despite tough reviews, Hangover managed $52 million, which meets most projections over the long weekend. Just 21% of the nation's critics recommended the movie, says polling site Rottentomatoes.com. Fans gave the movie a "B," says pollsters CinemaScore.
Moviegoers went mad over "Furious," however. About 73% of critics gave it a thumbs-up, while a staggering 95% of fans liked it, Rottentomatoes.com says.
"Furious" propelled all business this weekend. Overall business at theaters hit $323 million over four days, trouncing the record of $277 million in 2011.
The $160 million "Furious" also debuted in first place in 59 foreign markets and is expected to do another $150 million overseas.
A seventh film is slated for July 11, 2014.
"Star Trek Into Darkness" was third with $48 million, bringing the sequel's overall haul to $156.8 million.
The only other major newcomer, the 3-D animated fantasy "Epic," took fourth place on Friday with $9.4 million, putting it on pace for a $40 million weekend. Analysts projected $35 million for the film.
"Iron Man 3" rounded out the top five with $24.6 million.
The busy weekend helped Hollywood gain some ground on last year's ticket sales pace, though 2013 remains down 7% from 2012, Hollywood.com says.