"Fast & Furious" streaked off the starting line during its opening weekend, reaching the No. 1 spot at the box office with high-octane ticket sales that hit $72.5 million in three days.
The hot-rod flick fueled by Paul Walker and Vin Diesel sped by the No. 2 "Monsters vs. Aliens" as it stole honors as the best opening of the year.
Critics, who had panned "Fast & Furious" as a wreck, were stunned by its big-money debut - especially since Diesel and Walker had hardly lit up the box office in recent years.
In just one weekend, "Fast & Furious" earned more than the 2006 installment of the racing franchise, "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift."
"The marketing of this movie was also brilliant because it emphasized the reunited cast and it's an action film with fast cars, good-looking women and attractive men," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of the box office watchdog Media By Numbers.
"Monsters vs. Aliens" slipped out of first place with sales of $33.5 million in its second week and "The Haunting in Connecticut" scared up $9.6 million to land at No. 3.
Nicolas Cage's action movie "Knowing" followed in fourth place with a take of $8.1 million and the Paul Rudd comedy "I Love You, Man" was No. 5 with $7.9 million in sales.
The top 10 boasted two other new entries. Teen comedy "Adventureland" was No. 6 with sales of $6 million and the crime-scene cleanup comedy "Sunshine Cleaning" rose to No. 10 with sales of $1.9 million in its fourth week.
"Duplicity," a Clive Owens and Julia Roberts thriller, earned $4.3 million and the seventh spot in its fifth week.
The Disney family movie "Race to Witch Mountain" was in eighth place with sales of $3.4 million and "12 Rounds" landed ninth with $2.3 million in sales.
Overall, the box office was up a whopping 68% from the weekend last year, when holdover "21" outplayed a number of weak new movies.http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/movies/2009/04/06/2009-04-06_fast_flick_revs_up_furious_725m_biz_at_b.html