'Fast Five' takes checkered flag at box office

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The Independent Culture

The first big budget film of the summer season, "Fast Five," broke new records as it scored $83.6 million in its first weekend in theaters, industry estimates showed Sunday.

Ticket sales for the fifth volume in the high-speed car chase series marked the biggest premiere for any film so far this year, largely outpacing other new films this week.

Coming-of-age flick "Prom" only got $5 million for its cast of young and largely unknown actors, while moviegoers were similarly unimpressed by "Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil," a 3-D cartoon which opened with $4.1 million, according to box office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

Movie ticket sales have been soft this year, reflecting the impact of a deep recession, the worst in the United States since the 1930s.

Paul Walker and Vin Diesel were among "Fast" veterans who reunited for the fifth edition in the series, with Rio de Janeiro as a setting this time.

The "Hoodwinked" sequel's poor showing may owe to the continued popularity of two other 3-D animated family films: tropical bird comedy "Rio," in second place with $14.4 million, and 9th place finisher "Hop," an Easter romp that scored $2.6 million in its fifth week on the big screen.

"Rio" previously roosted atop the box office for two consecutive weeks. The cartoon about pet macaw Blu voiced by "Social Network" star Jesse Eisenberg bolts from chilly climes to Brazil's beaches.

"Hop," a real-action-animation hybrid about the wayward son of the Easter Bunny, had also spent two weeks at the top.

In fourth place was the latest comedic offering from Tyler Perry, the critically-panned "Madea's Big Happy Family," which raked in $10.1 million in its second weekend.

Depression-era romance "Water for Elephants," starring British heartthrob Robert Pattinson and Oscar-winner Reese Witherspoon, took in $9.1 million to land in fourth.

The weekend box office hit list put "Soul Surfer" in the seventh spot with $3.3 million, telling the true story of church-going teen surfer Bethany Hamilton (played by AnnaSophia Robb), who returned to the ocean after losing an arm in a shark attack.

Horror flick "Insidious," about a family in a haunted house, picked up $2.7 million in eighth.

Rounding out the top 10 for a second week in a row was Jake Gyllenhaal's acclaimed sci-fi thriller "Source Code," about a government experiment to find the bomber of a commuter train, which took $2.5 million.