''2 Fast 2 Furious'' sped ahead of those ''Finding Nemo'' fish at the box office this weekend -- though the race was actually pretty close.
The sequel to the hit ''The Fast and the Furious'' opened with a terrific $52.1 million, according to studio estimates, easily topping the $40.1 debut of the first film two years ago. Apparently fans of the film's quick cars didn't care that headliner Vin Diesel didn't return for the sequel. Score one for returning star Paul Walker, new sidekick Tyrese, and ''2 Fast'' director John Singleton.
''Finding Nemo,'' meanwhile, slipped to No. 2 with $45.8 million in its second week, down 35 percent from its $70.3 opening. After 10 days, the Disney/Pixar comedy has earned an amazing $143.3 million. The 2001 smash ''Monsters, Inc.,'' by comparison, had reached $122.2 million at the same point in its release. ''Nemo'' will easily break $200 million and could surpass $250 million if things continue to go so swimmingly.
Jim Carrey's ''Bruce Almighty'' fell 42 percent to $21.7 million in its third weekend, bringing its total to $170.8 million, while the Mark Wahlberg thriller ''The Italian Job'' benefited from strong word of mouth with only a 32 percent dip to $13.3 million. It's now grossed $40.1 million after 10 days. And ''The Matrix Reloaded'' saw its smallest drop so far, falling 46 percent to $9.1 million. Its total now stands at $247 million, making it the 25th highest-grossing film of all time after only a month of release. How's that for fast and furious?