erik lundegaard

Hollywood B.O.: “Fast Five” Zooms Out of the Gate; Will It Fade?

This weekend “Fast Five” had the 27th best opening in movie history, unadjusted, grossing $83 million, and has already surpassed the total domestic gross of the third film in the franchise, “Tokyo Drift.”

It's actually worthwhile comparing these “Fast and Furious” movies, which began, in its current Vin Diesel-fueled incarnation, in the summer of 2001. First, let's remove “Tokyo Drift,” the red-headed stepchild of the franchise, from the equation, since it didn't include any of the original stars. Without it, a clear pattern emerges that is at one with the industry: bigger and bigger opening weekends, shorter and shorter legs:

  • “The Fast and the Furious” (2001) grossed $40 million during its opening but $144 million overall. Opening as percentage of total? 28%
  • “2 Fast 2 Furious” (2003), the Diesel-less sequel, grossed $50 million opening and $127 overall: 40%.
  • “Fast and Furious” (2009)?  $70 million opening, $155 overall: 46%

Each movie makes a bigger splash but with smaller ripples. And if you adjust for inflation, well, nothing's surpassed the original in popularity and dough. 

It'll be interesting to see if “Fast Five” is running on sprinter's legs, like the others, or if it has a bit of the long-distance runner in it. Because for the first time since the first movie, a “Fast and Furious” did well with critics:

  • “The Fast and the Furious”: 64%
  • “2 Fast 2 Furious”: 39%
  • “Tokyo Drift”:43%
  • “Fast and Furious”: 21%
  • “Fast Five”: 81%

Will these higher numbers translate into a wider audience, and longer legs, or is the audience for these kinds of movies irrevocably narrow, the film's legs inevitably short and stubby?

Elsewhere, both “Prom” and “Hoodwinked Too!” bombed, grossing $5m and $4.1m in 2,700 and 2,500 theaters, respectively. “Dylan Dog,” with former (and underrated) Superman Brandon Routh in the lead, did even worse. It opened in 875 theaters and grossed less than $1 million, which is only a triumph on Bizarro world.

The quick totals.

The Rock in "Fast Five" (2011)

Sure, “Fast Five” has arms; but does it have legs? (The above photo could also make a good caption contest, if anyone's willing.)


Posted at 12:05 PM on Sun. May 01, 2011 in category Movies - Box Office  
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