May’s first weekend mounts Fast Five, the latest in the Fast and Furious series at the top of the box office as expected, but draws in a noteworthy and indeed staggering $83 million—an all-time high for opening weekend in the saga. Being a part five, one would imagine the film doesn’t have much of a chance, but truly the series has its own cult followers and evidently, the story this time around is more satisfying than any previous plot as suggested by its being the highest rated in the series on IMDb. This is surprising, since the plot details that Walker’s character will once again be helping out criminal Toretto, and the “one last job” scenario is being employed as well for repetitiveness’ sake. However, action-junkies have had a run of bad luck lately, what with the failure of slow-motion Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch (which I’m sure felt like slow-motion throughout viewing), Hanna skimming by its production budget by accumulating only $5 million in profit domestically, and Battle: Los Angeles unable to meet the standards of most viewers. The success of Fast Five is quite a shift considering how poorly done the third sequel was when director Justin Lin first visually helmed the project.

What we see this weekend is mostly more of the same from last weekend in terms of success among movies. Rio, even as an animated feature, was practically designed to succeed, and with the shy, talented voice of comic relief Jesse Eisenberg attached it’s no wonder the film has come to amass approximately $364,327,000 worldwide. Exactly like Fast Five, it was able to hold its own at the top box office because incoming competitors weren’t worth a glance. People tend to prefer being more careful where they place their money now, what with the state of the economy. It’s something of a gamble, since with the popcorn, any other food, and soda involved the cost of movie-going has racked up quite a price. Because of this, when poorly conceived crimes of cinema like Tyler Perry’s latest enter the game, they seem to linger. But don’t worry. Amongst a plane of awful cinema, awful cinema stews. Theatres have simply fallen into something of a lull lately, with an occasional Fast Five making an appearance. So long as we’re full of sequels, prequels, literature-to-film adaptations, and remakes, why not have a sequel which improves on the saga it’s a part of? In this case, Fast Five is actually refreshing. Unlike polar opposite Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, which was spawned out of greed. The worst part of this generation’s cinema is that everything has to be a moneymaker. The film has justly made only $4 million; a devastating amount that I’m sure will have the executive producer in a stunned silence. I don’t see what they could possibly have expected though, being that the first film, Hoodwinked, didn’t really connect with audiences in the first place. There was no reason but to cash in on more profit, and it backfired. There’d be a lot less of these sequels and such going around if there were enough misfires. The sad truth is, since theatres aim to gain profit, they only sell what the audience proves it wants. And we don’t seem to want too much quality anymore. I guess at some point we just lowered our standards, and a Justin Bieber movie was made, and another Tyler Perry film was made.

Meanwhile, Prom had a very modest budget and couldn’t even manage to make up for that. Perhaps Aimee Teegarden is something of a curse, as her role in Scream 4 certainly didn’t help its financial woes any. Although Prom is very derivative, its target audience wouldn’t care, so it’s a bit of a surprise it didn’t connect with many of its demographic. Prom is just an outdated, overused foundation for a plot—especially since Prom Night. A drop in the box office by Water for Elephants, that film which could only possibly be highlighted by newly formed character actor Christoph Waltz (who hopefully breaks his code of villainy in upcoming Quentin Tarantino film Django Unchained). Otherwise, the entire film is anchored by the sad weight of Robert Pattinson in the cast’s driver’s seat. We may as well have thrown Taylor Lautner in there. As guessed, it fell into fourth place in the top box office.

This weekend, Fast Five will have to hit the NOS if it intends to stay ahead of Thor, the latest and highly marketed comic book installment featuring a gigantic budget that hopefully won’t unintentionally poke fun of its own genre. Thor doesn’t look like the most impressive superhero film, judging by its released footage, and plotline (which closely resembles Tron: Legacy in that the protagonist is thrown into a world he does not know and must subsequently prevent an otherworldly antagonist from killing everyone on Earth). So, Fast Five has every opportunity to withstand Thor. I’m not so sure about The Beaver. It’s been warmly welcomed, but the entire premise of Mel Gibson communicating with a hand puppet is just a tad too (sadly) close to reality for me. It should hit around third or fourth, as Water for Elephants falls to fifth.

1 N Fast Five Uni. $83,630,000              
2 1 Rio Fox $14,400,000              
3 2 Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family LGF $10,050,000              
4 3 Water for Elephants Fox $9,125,000              
5 N Prom BV $5,000,000              
6 N Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil Wein. $4,140,000              
7 7 Soul Surfer TriS $3,300,000              
8 9 Insidious FD $2,687,000              
9 4 Hop Uni. $2,557,000              
10 10 Source Code Sum. $2,532,000