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MARTIN GROVE'S HOLLYWOOD REPORT -- "FAST" FRANCHISE -- 4/10/17


 
THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS - VIN DIESEL AND CHARLIZE THERON

THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS - VIN DIESEL AND CHARLIZE THERON

THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS - CHARLIZE THERON

THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS - CHARLIZE THERON

FATE OF THE FURIOUS - MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ

FATE OF THE FURIOUS - MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ

MARTIN GROVE'S HOLLYWOOD REPORT --

"FAST" FRANCHISE -- 4/10/17

 

"Fast" franchise: Hit family films like "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Boss Baby" have been driving spring ticket sales, but a turbo-charged action crime thriller's fast approaching that should really rev up the boxoffice.

         This weekend will see Universal and Original Film's PG-13 rated "The Fate of the Furious" parking at about 4,200 theatres. Hollywood handicappers are talking about a likely $100 million-plus domestic launch.

         Directed by F. Gary Gray ("Straight Outta Compton"), its stars include: Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, Charlize Theron, Scott Eastwood, Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson, Kurt Russell and Michelle Rodriguez.

         "Fate" is the eighth episode in the super-horsepower franchise that began in 2001 with "The Fast and the Furious" and has since grossed $1.3 billion domestically. Two additional as yet temporarily titled episodes are already planned – "Fast and Furious 9" opening Apr. 19, 2019 and "Fast and Furious 10" opening Apr. 2, 2021.

         Like the previous episodes, "Fate" should play best to a core audience of action movie loving adult men and younger men worldwide.

         In "Fate," the series' globetrotting team is living a somewhat normal life until a mysterious woman (Theron) seduces Dom (Diesel) to return to the world of crime and betray those closest to him.

         The franchise's 16 years of staying power at the boxoffice is a testament to what can happen when great marketing meets great filmmaking. Here's a quick chronological look at the first seven episodes:

         I. "The Fast and the Furious"

         RELEASE DATE: June 22, 2001

         OPENING WEEKEND: $40.1 million

         DOMESTIC TOTAL: $144.5 million

         INTERNATIONAL TOTAL: $62.8 million

         GLOBAL TOTAL: $207.3 million

DIRECTOR: Rob Cohen ("The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor")

KEY STARS: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster

NOTES: Diesel was best known at the time for the 2000 sci-fi horror thriller "Pitch Black," which did $39.2 million domestically. Walker had just starred in the action crime drama "The Skulls," which did $35 million domestically.

"Skulls" was directed by Rob Cohen and produced by Neal H. Moritz, who went on to produce the "Fast" franchise, and John Pogue, who was an executive producer of the series' first episode. "Fast" accelerated both stars' careers in a big way.

It was the year's 14th biggest film domestically.

 

         II. "2 Fast 2 Furious"

         RELEASE DATE: June 6, 2003

         OPENING WEEKEND: $50.5 million

         DOMESTIC TOTAL: $127.2 million

         INTERNATIONAL TOTAL: $109.2 million

         GLOBAL TOTAL: $236.4 million

DIRECTOR: John Singleton ("Boyz n the Hood")

         KEY STARS: Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Cole Hauser, Eva Mendes, Ludacris

         NOTES: Singleton was coming off the success of the 2000 action crime thriller remake "Shaft," which did $70.3 million domestically.

         The second "Fast" episode opened better than the first, but didn't wind up doing as well domestically. It did, however, perform much better internationally, which since then has consistently generated the series' biggest ticket sales.

         "2F2F" was the year's 15th top grossing film domestically.

 

         III. "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift"

         RELEASE DATE: June 16, 2006

         OPENING WEEKEND: $24 million

         DOMESTIC TOTAL: $62.5 million

         INTERNATIONAL TOTAL: $96 million

         GLOBAL TOTAL: $158.5 million

DIRECTOR: Justin Lin ("Fast & Furious," "Fast Five," "Fast & Furious 6")

         KEY STARS: Lucas Black, Zachery Ty Bryan, Shad Moss

         NOTES: This was the only "Fast" episode not to star Walker prior to his tragic death in 2013. Justin Lin had just directed the 2006 romantic drama "Annapolis," which starred Jordana Brewster (who was in the original "Fast") and Tyrese Gibson (who was in "2F2F"). Both stars have been part of the "Fast" franchise team over the years. "Annapolis" grossed just $17.1 million domestically.

         Diesel has a cameo role in "Drift," which was added after test screenings of the movie were disappointing. For coming on board, he reportedly received from Universal the rights to make the "Pitch Black" sequel "Riddick," which Diesel produced independently with Ted Field. It was released domestically by Universal in 2013 and grossed $42 million.

         Although "Drift" didn't do well domestically, it did continue the franchise's international growth.

         It was the year's 14th biggest film domestically.

 

         IV. "Fast & Furious"

         RELEASE DATE: April 3, 2009

         OPENING WEEKEND: $71 million

         DOMESTIC TOTAL: $155.1 million

         INTERNATIONAL TOTAL: $208.1 million

         GLOBAL TOTAL: $363.2 million

DIRECTOR: Justin Lin ("Fast & Furious," "Fast Five," "Fast & Furious 6")

         KEY STARS: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster

         NOTES: This episode marked a turnaround for the series, showing good growth both domestically and internationally, and Justin Lin went on to direct the next two episodes.

         "F&F" reunited Diesel, Walker, Rodriguez and Brewster, none of whom were in the under-performing "Drift." "F&F's" success reportedly prompted Gibson, who'd only appeared in "2F2F," to return to the franchise.

         "F&F" was the year's 17th biggest film domestically.

 

         V. "Fast Five"

         RELEASE DATE: April 29, 2011

         OPENING WEEKEND: $86.2 million

         DOMESTIC TOTAL: $209.8 million

         INTERNATIONAL TOTAL: $416.3 million

         GLOBAL TOTAL: $626.1 million

DIRECTOR: Justin Lin ("Fast & Furious," "Fast Five," "Fast & Furious 6")

         KEY STARS: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris

         NOTES: "FF" was the first episode released in IMAX, elevating the franchise's profile as a prime visual experience for moviegoers.

         An indication of the series' growing popularity is that "FF" was the most pirated film of 2011, with 9.3 million downloads.

         This was the first "Fast" film to also star Dwayne Johnson, whose star power and marketing strength has been part of every episode since then. The former wrestler, originally known as The Rock, quickly evolved into a global boxoffice superstar, in part thanks to the "Fast" series.

         "FF" was the year's sixth biggest film domestically, a major step up for the franchise in terms of boxoffice performance.

 

         VI. "Fast & Furious 6"

         RELEASE DATE: May 24, 2013

         OPENING WEEKEND: $97.4 million

         DOMESTIC TOTAL: $238.7 million

         INTERNATIONAL TOTAL: $550 million

         GLOBAL TOTAL: $788.7 million

DIRECTOR: Justin Lin ("Fast & Furious," "Fast Five," "Fast & Furious 6")

         KEY STARS: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris

         NOTES: Dwayne Johnson was named 2013's top grossing actor worldwide by Forbes Magazine, based on his success in "F&F 6" and three other releases that year ("Snitch," "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," "Empire State," "Pain & Gain"). Johnson topped Forbes' list with $1.3 billion in global grosses. Diesel ranked fourth with $887 million and Walker was sixth with $789 million.

         This was Justin Lin's fourth and final "Fast" episode. After "Drift," he made a major improvement by turning what had basically been a street racing series into a high-powered, larger-than-life action franchise driven by powerful visuals, big set pieces and international master villains targeted to moviegoers worldwide.

         "F&F6" was the year's ninth biggest film domestically.

        

         VII. "Furious 7"

         RELEASE DATE: April 3, 2015

         OPENING WEEKEND: $147.2 million

         DOMESTIC TOTAL: $353 million

         INTERNATIONAL TOTAL: $1.2 billion

         GLOBAL TOTAL: $1.6 billion

DIRECTOR: James Wan ("Insidious" and "The Conjuring" franchises)

         KEY STARS: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Kurt Russell

         NOTES: When Paul Walker died in a fiery car crash Nov. 30, 2013 at the age of just 40, he'd completed "F&F 6" and was shooting scenes for "F7." Production, which was more than 50 percent completed by then, shut down while the studio and producers figured out how to continue the hit franchise. Walker's scenes were kept in "F7" and with some help from his brothers, Caleb and Cody, production was finished. "F7's" release date was pushed from the originally planned July 11, 2014 to Apr. 3, 2015.

         James Wan took over the franchise from Lin with "F7," but just for one episode, bringing it into world class territory with $1.6 billion in global grosses. When Wan came on board, he already had two hit horror thriller franchises to his credit – "Insidious" episodes one and two, which grossed $54 million and $83.6 million domestically; and the first episode of "The Conjuring," which did $137.4 million domestically.

         A measure of "F7's" popularity is that it was 2015's second most pirated movie – with 44.8 million downloads, per the piracy tracking firm Excipio.

         "F7" was the year's fifth biggest film domestically, the series' best annual ranking to date.

         Bottom line: Last weekend was one of those calm-before-the-storm periods at the boxoffice. With "Fate" looming very large on the horizon, there was little in the way of new wide openings to lure moviegoers away from weekend binge viewing at home.

         Columbia and Sony Pictures Animation's PG rated 3D animated family appeal comedy adventure "Smurfs: The Lost Village" opened quietly in third place to $14 million. It did $22 million in 58 international markets last weekend, bringing its international cume to $42.1 million and its global cume to $56.1 million. In "Lost's" favor is that it reportedly only cost about $60 million to produce, a much lower price tag than 3D animated features usually have.

         The franchise's last episode, "The Smurfs 2," opened July 31, 2013 to $17.5 million. It did $71 million domestically and another $276.5 million internationally.

         New Line Cinema, MGM, Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow Pictures' PG-13 rated crime comedy remake "Going in Style" opened fourth to a better than expected $12.5 million. It did another $4.3 million in 32 international markets.

         "Style" reportedly was produced for only about $25 million. It played best to adult men and women, mostly over the age of 50. That's an audience that takes its time getting around to see movies, which could help "Style" in the coming weeks.

         Thanks to 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks Animation's PG rated animated comedy "The Boss Baby" ($26.3 million and a domestic cume of $89.4 million) and Disney and Mandeville Films' PG rated live action 3D fantasy musical "Beauty and the Beast," ($25 million and a domestic cume of $432.3 million), last weekend was up 15.2 percent over this time last year, per comScore -- $121 million vs. $105 million.

         "Boss" also did $37.5 million last weekend in 46 international markets, bringing its international cume to $110.4 million and its global cume to $199.8 million. Voice star Alec Baldwin's popularity with millennial fans of his appearances on "Saturday Night Live" is also helping to drive "Boss" at the boxoffice.

         Disney said Sunday that "Beauty's" estimated global cume is now $977 million "with the $1 billion mark soon to be crossed over.  Domestically the estimated cume is now $432 million, making 'Beauty and the Beast' the #15 movie on the all-time rankings.

         "This weekend’s international grosses also take the total international grosses for The Walt Disney Studios to over $1 billion for 2017 to date ($1.007 billion estimated to date)."

         Overall, 2017's $3.206 billion boxoffice to date, according to comScore, is up 5.5 percent vs. $3.041 billion a year ago. A week earlier, 2017 was up 5.0 percent. It had been ahead 5.5 percent in comScore's tracking the prior weekend.