The box office results for the weekend of April 29th-May 1st suggests that the summer movie season got an early start. “Fast Five” put up blockbuster-like numbers in its opening weekend and hogged the majority of moviegoers. Meanwhile, other new entries were left picking up scraps. Here are the studio estimates:

1. Fast Five ($83.6 million)

2. Rio ($14.4 million)

3. Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family ($10 million)

4. Water for Elephants ($9.1 million)

5. Prom ($5 million)

6. Hoodwinked Too! Hood VS. Evil ($4.1 million)

7. Soul Surfer ($3.3 million)

8. Insidious ($2.6 million)

9. Hop ($2.6 million)

10. Source Code ($2.5 million)


Universal finally has a reason to rejoice, thanks to their “Fast and Furious” franchise. Just as the fourth installment exceeded expectations, “Fast Five” is poised to become the biggest in the franchise. And it spent the money to do so. Coming in with a $125 million production budget, the flick is on pace to shatter the previous franchise high of $155 million domestically. This property always receives a nice boost from overseas as well, so the increased budget was well worth the gamble. One thing to be wary of is that the F&F franchise is heavily frontloaded. Meaning, the majority of their core fans come out in force on opening weekend. But with critics and fans suggesting that “Fast Five” is arguably the best installment to-date, Universal can leave all their worries in the rear-view.

Now the makers of “Hoodwinked Too! Hood VS. Evil” will have their respective worries slapping them in the face. Besides being a 3D animated property – which only cost $30 million to make – what was the point? The original came out almost six years ago and didn’t light a fire with moviegoers. Having a sequel to a product that no one truly cares about seems irresponsible on the Weinstein’s part. The terrible opening, in what has already been a crowded animated release year, suggests that audiences need a break from 3D animations. Or, they could care less about this mediocre title.

As usual, “Tyler Perry’s” latest flick plummeted 60% in its second week. Yet it will garner profits off the $25 million production budget since it is already up to $41 million on the domestic front. The guy is bankable.

Flop Alert: “Scream 4”. The latest in the “Scream” franchise landed here for performance reasons. Not financial. Believe it or not, this flick will end up making some cash thanks to international totals – which are currently higher than domestic. With that said, the flick will not even cume half of what “Scream 3” did on the homefront ($90 mil). And most people couldn’t stand the third installment. The Weinstein’s may have to do the unthinkable and let this franchise die peacefully.

Sleeper Hit: “Soul Surfer”. After a month of being in theaters, the flick is proving to be a fighter (just like the person it is based on). This comeback piece had an $18 million price tag and has now climbed to $34 million. Not many releases in the last couple months have managed to have a 4 or 5 week-long shelf-life in 2011.

This Friday officially kicks off the 2011 summer movie season. And “Thor” is leading the way. If the comic-book god doesn’t entice you, there are a couple alternates in “Jumping the Broom” and “Something Borrowed”. One of the two romantic comedies will survive, while the other will never get out of the starting blocks. Reviews will be right here my fellow Shockers.

Report by Joe Belcastro

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By Joe Belcastro

Joe Belcastro is an established movie critic in Tampa, Florida. As a member of the Florida Film Critics Circle, most of his time is spent reviewing upcoming movies. He also covers news pertaining to the film industry, on both a local and national level as well as conducting interviews. To contact Joe Belcastro regarding a story or with general questions about his services, please e-mail him and/or follow him on Twiiter @TheWritingDemon.

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