In Russia, there’s rarely dissent against the government. And when there is, it usually doesn’t end well. One rare exception was prompted by the latest Fast and Furious film.
Last month, when the country’s culture ministry tried to delay this week’s release of The Fate of the Furious to give a homegrown patriotic movie a stronger run, some of the country’s largest exhibitors rebelled. They reportedly threatened to yank the local film, Время первых (Time of the First), after its first week if they were barred from screening the eighth installment in the Fast and Furious franchise.
After the petition, the culture minister apparently backed down and agreed to premiere both movies as planned. It’s no wonder the cinema chains revolted.
The high-octane movie, which features a submarine chase and an insanely souped-up military tank, is projected to open to a massive worldwide audience this weekend. It’s forecasted to make a $380 million debut at the global box, which would make it the second-biggest Fast and Furious opening ever. (Furious 7, the last to star the late Paul Walker, was the highest grosser. To think, the movie almost didn’t happen.)
Why do they keep making them? Much like the plot of one of these films, it’s very simple. They keep making more money.
And with its last four movies, the franchise has established an even bigger following abroad than it has in the US.
The Fast and Furious formula of fast cars, action stars, beautiful women, and brewing bromances could have easily sputtered out after the second film. Tokyo Drift was a dud with US theatergoers. But it built up an audience abroad. And the franchise’s global appeal, along with the introduction in the fifth movie of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who is Hollywood’s top earner for a reason, have driven each installment to higher and higher grosses.
The Fast and Furious’s biggest audience, based on Box Office Mojo data for the last movie, is now in China, followed by other major cinema markets like the US and UK.
Two additional movies are set to follow the The Fate of the Furious, which will bring the franchise total to 10 films that span two decades. The only thing looming over the fate of future films (besides a feud between stars Johnson and Vin Diesel) is a finite number of variations on the Fast and Furious title, which, let’s be honest, is becoming a real concern.