“Fast & Furious”, the fourth installment of the hot rod franchise, scored the highest April debut of all-time with $72.5 million this weekend, according to studio estimates from Nielsen EDI.

The film re-unites the core of the cast from the original “Fast & Furious” including Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Michelle Rodriguez, features souped-up Toyotas and other cars battling for supremacy on the streets of Los Angeles. The previous record-holder for an April debut was the Adam Sandler comedy “Anger Management”, which made $42 million in 2003.

The 3-D animated comedy “Monsters vs. Aliens” fought for a distant second place with $33.5 million, bringing the children’s film to $106 million in 10 days.

The horror film “The Haunting in Connecticut” was third with $9.55 million, while Nicolas Cage’s thriller “Knowing” was fourth brings its three-week grosses to $58.2 million. Rounding out the top five was the Paul Rudd comedy “I Love You, Man” with $7.85 million. It has earned $49.3 million in three weeks.

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Final figures are due today.

Box Office Grosses
Week Ending April 5, 2009

Rank Title Weekend Total Gross
1 Fast & Furious (2009) $72.5M $72.5M
2 Monsters vs Aliens (2009) $33.5M $106M
3 The Haunting in Connecticut (2009) $9.55M $37.2M
4 Knowing (2009) $8.13M $58.2M
5 I Love You, Man (2009) $7.85M $49.3M
6 Adventureland (2009) $6.01M $6.01M
7 Duplicity (2009) $4.3M $32.4M
8 Race to Witch Mountain (2009) $3.35M $58.4M
9 12 Rounds (2009) $2.3M $9.02M
10 Sunshine Cleaning (2008) $1.88M $4.77M