The car chase extravaganza just kicked The Force Awakens off the top opening weekend spot.
The Fate of the Furious raked in $533 million worldwide its opening weekend – besting Episode VII’s $529 million opening weekend back in 2015. F8 earned $65.6 its first day in China. To date the franchise has earned over $4 billion worldwide. It’s a drop in the bucket when looking at Marvel or Star Wars box office takes, but this is a franchise based on criminals driving exotic cars really fast. I don’t think this is what anyone was expecting when the original, attempting to capitalize on the street racing craze of the time, was released in 2001.
While the franchise isn’t regarded as being one with a lot of substance, it does have some things that keep bringing audiences back…
From the beginning the idea of family has been a large part of the franchise’s identity – it’s gone from being about the characters to being about the global fan community. They may not have giant conventions like Star Wars and Star Trek, but they have forums and wikis and fanfic sites. The die hard fans will make it to every premier simply because they love the universe.
The stories are escapist fantasies that don’t take themselves too seriously. Sit back and watch the crazy unfold – taking down a military plane with just cars and dragging a giant bank vault down a highway are totally plausible here. Nuclear submarine vs cars on a giant ice sheet? Let’s go. Outlandish, over the top action sequences are what these movies do best.
The franchise has been able to draw big stars you wouldn’t expect. F8 drew Oscar winners Helen Mirren and Charlize Theron. Throw a big name in and bring in some favorites – instant box office dollars. In addition, the overall the cast is more diverse than other franchises its size and they’re all likable actors playing likable characters. Even the bad guys, who are never actually all that bad.
Over the last 16 years Fast and the Furious has become a sure bet for Hollywood in the same way Star Wars and Marvel has. When they’re placed on the release schedule at just the right time – like this weekend – they have the ability to break records. Are they good movies? Not really, but I don’t think anyone involved in their creation cares. They just want to have a good time, and deliver a movie their audience will show up for.
The important question now: how are they going to top the submarine?