Box Office: Fast & Furious Cruises to $30 Million on Friday ($72 Million Debut)

Industry experts were expecting a $45 million opening weekend for the fourth installment of the “Fast and Furious” franchise, but the film would seem to be on its way to crash through that expectation, picking up an estimated $30 million on Friday alone. That still leaves Saturday and Sunday’s take, which as of this writing, have still not come in.

The $30 million dollar take for “Fast & Furious” came from 5,200 screens, and easily beat out the previous three installments. It bested “Tokyo Drift’s” entire debut weekend take, and easily trumped the original’s $15 million back in 2001. For the record, “2 Fast 2 Furious” took in just south of $20 million when it opened on Friday in 2003.

To put all this in perspective, after picking up $15 million on its Friday opening, the 2001 original went on to earn $40 million for the weekend, while “2 Fast 2 Furious” went on to claim $50 million. It’s looking very good that “Fast & Furious” will break both of those records when Saturday and Sunday’s take are counted. If I had to guess, I would say another $30 million is not out of the question, and indeed, may be on the low side.

Full weekend box office numbers later in the day. (Via)

Update: The AP has the film scoring a whopping $72.5 million in its weekend debut. This gives “Fast & Furious” the best opening of 2009, beating out last week’s “Monsters vs. Aliens'” $59 million opening. Add the $30-plus million the film earned in overseas box office, and “Fast & Furious” has officially crossed the $100 million mark in just three days of release.

Can you say, “Fast and Furious 5″?