“Fast & Furious 6″ raced out of the gate as the No. 1 film in the U.K. and Ireland on Friday, posting Universal’s biggest opening day ever in that market with $4.6 million.
That figure beats the $3.6 million that the fourth film in the franchise, “Fast & Furious,” opened with in 2009 and is the year’s second-best opening day in the U.K., just behind the $4.7 million of “Iron Man 3.”
Warner Bros. rolled out “The Great Gatsby” on Thursday in the U.K., and that film has taken in $2.5 million.
“Fast & Furious 6″ is set in London and had its global premiere there so an initial opening in the U.K. made sense for Universal. The U.K. was also the most lucrative foreign market for “Fast Five,” which brought in more than $30 million in 2011.
The film opens on Friday in North America and in 59 international territories.
Universal has high hopes for “Fast & Furious 6.” Its predecessor “Fast Five,” was the franchise’s highest-grossing entry. It brought in more than $625 million worldwide, with $416 million of that from international. Domestically, it opened to $86 million and went on to make $207 million.
Director Justin Lin and screenwriter Chris Morgan are back for their fourth go-round, along with a cast that includes Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Paul Walker, Jason Statham, Luke Evans, Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez.
In this installment, agent Luke Hobbs (Johnson) enlists Dominic Toretto (Diesel) and his team to bring down former Special Ops soldier Owen Shaw (Evans), leader of a unit specializing in vehicular warfare.