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"Fast Five" Poised To Make Box Office History + Its Larger Social Meaning

Shadow and Act By Sergio | Shadow and Act April 30, 2011 at 11:31AM

Though the official final weekend numbers won't come out until tomorrow, Fast Five (AKA The Fast and the Furious V) will set the biggest opening box office in Universal Pictures' history.
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Though the official final weekend numbers won't come out until tomorrow, Fast Five (AKA The Fast and the Furious V) will set the biggest opening box office in Universal Pictures' history.

The film is projected to make $80 million this weekend beating Universal's previous opening box office holder Lost World: Jurassic Park, which opened to a $72 million opening weekend tally, and the previous Fast and Furious movie, which made $71 million on it's opening weekend. You just can't beat fast cars, hot women in bikinis, and testosterone overload to bring people into the theater. (Though that titanic fight in the film between Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson has some serious homoerotic overtones. Who knows? It may have brought even more people into the theaters)

No doubt this is good news to theater owners still trying to regain their footing, with box office receipts so far this year down 23% from last year, which was down 10% for the same period the year before.

However the huge success of Fast Five also means something else which most film biz analysts will overlook. This is a film with a multi-racial cast: Blacks, whites, Latinos (both light and dark skinned), Asians and bi-racial. You know a cast that represents the REAL world as we know it. That's in stark contrast to, not only most films, but also to movies based on popular novels and TV shows which feature multi-racial characters.

Yet, when they are, in turn, adapted into films, all of a sudden, those multi-ethnic characters turn white such as The Last Airbender and the upcoming film versions of The Hunger Games, Akira and 21 Jump Street.

For books and TV it's fine, but when it come to the movies, studios, filmmakers and producers say: "Lets make them white or else white people either won't come or they'll flee out of the theaters in horror and disgust."

So how would they explain the success of Fast Five? Looks like the racial makeup of the cast didn't seem to scare off anybody.

P.S. Oh yeah Madea's Big Happy Family weekend numbers dropped this weekend by 70%.


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