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Your Box Office Explained: Expect a Fast Six

This Weekend’s Winner: There was Fast Five (just shy of $84 million) ...

This Weekend’s Losers: and then there was everything else. Disney’s Prom ($5 million); the Weinstein Co.’s Hoodwinked Too!, with a little over $4 million. (Memo to Hollywood marketing chiefs: That sequel you’re planning on selling as [Insert Title of Original Film] Too! ? Uh-uh.)

How It All Went Down: Box office up till this point was looking deader than Bin Laden. No matter the successes, practically each weekend in 2011 seemingly came with the caveat of "but overall, things were down by double digits.” No more.

With fuel prices up almost 40 percent this year alone, go figure that a gas-pedal crush video would become the biggest opening in the history of Universal Pictures. But for all its rampant product placement and inherent young-guy appeal (opening weekend’s audience breakdown was 56 percent male, 52 percent of ’em under 25), it’s worth noting that Fast Five was, by every account, a really enjoyable ride: Never mind that eight out of ten critics loved it; nine out of ten people who saw it did, too.

Sadly for Disney, an otherwise seemingly perfectly timed effort to counter-program Fast Five and exploit prom season were met with yawning indifference by tweens. Despite the proliferation of Clearasil-smeared faces at your local Friar Tux, Prom still bombed, taking in only $5 million: For if Prom was, well, the prom, then Fast Five was the alcohol-saturated after-party at the airport Ramada Inn you wouldn’t dare miss being seen throwing up at.

Photo: Photo by Jaimie Trueblood – © 2011 Universal Studios.