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Weekend B.O. May 24-26 (Diversity Works)

Box Office
by Sergio
May 26, 2013 12:31 PM
10 Comments
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Fast and Furious 6

Fast & Furious 6 has done what Star Trek Into Darkness failed to do in its first weekend. That is to cross (almost) the $100 million mark in one weekend, helping to make this Memorial Day weekend the biggest ever in terms of box office numbers (totaling over $320 million), surpassing the previous biggest Memorial Day weekend record in 2011.

The film grossed $98 million, which is more than the $86 million that 2011’s Fast Five made its opening weekend. And add to that figure, the over $177 million that F&F6 has made overseas to date, and you're talking serious bucks.

And these numbers don't include Monday's holiday figures yet, which is expected to push F&F6 to something like $120-122 million domestically, for a four day weekend total.

No doubt Universal is thanking the gods that they accidentally bumped into and stuck with the tentpole franchise series, considering that they actually almost gave up on it a few years ago.

According to an article this week on The Wrap, the studio was convinced that the series had no more life in it, after John Singleton’s 2 Fast 2 Furious, despite grossing $127 million domestically, and another $109 million overseas (still Singleton’s biggest box office hit to date).

They even seriously contemplated making any possible future releases as cheap-jack straight-to-DVD releases (as they are currently doing with their Death Race series).

Instead, the studio decided to retool the franchise, focusing more on action and the heist premise genre, instead of underground street racing. But it was when the studio saw the audience’s reaction during test screenings, when Vin Diesel made a cameo appearance at the end of F&F3: Tokyo Drift that they realized the series still had potential.

One exec said the audience’s reaction to Diesel in Drift, “was like a rock concert. The audience went ballistic” (which is similar to the reaction from the preview audience I saw F&F6 with, when a certain actor makes a similar cameo appearance at the end of the film).

Also a major factor to the success of the series that cannot be overlooked was its inclusiveness. In order to separate it and attract a wider and more diverse audience from the typical summer blockbusters, the studio intentionally went multi-ethnic in terms of casting Asian, African-American, Latino (and everything in between) actors. The films have something for everyone.

The result is a cast that looks like many of today's moviegoers -- social media savvy, ethnic and frequently bilingual, one exec said, adding:"We're the Benetton of casting. We’re one of the few franchises that has Spanish spoken throughout it."

The end result is that F& F6 will definitely out-gross the previous Fast Five film, and is expected to do near $800 million worldwide.

Now, you would think that other studios and producers would take note of this for future film projects. But as I always like to say,  I’m not taking any bets.

In the meantime, in other box office news, The Hangover III, which is, without question, one of the worst reviewed films of the year, did extremely well with over $54 million. But the film will no doubt drop off sharply once bad word-of-mouth gets around.

And among the other major releases this weekend, Epic held out pretty well, all things considered. But it’ll have a tough fight making its presence known as the weeks go by.

1) Fast & Furious 6 Uni. $98,528,000 
2) The Hangover Part III WB $42,415,000 Total: $54,204,000 
3) Star Trek Into Darkness Par. $38,000,000 Total: $146,827,000 
4) Epic Fox $34,200,000 
5) Iron Man 3 BV $19,424,000 Total: $367,506,000 
6) The Great Gatsby WB $13,705,000 Total: $114,432,000 
7) Mud RAtt. $1,980,000 Total: $14,587,000 
8) 42 WB $1,245,000 Total: $91,049,000 
9) The Croods Fox $1,215,000 Total: $179,238,000 
10) Oblivion Uni. $815,000 -Total: $87,280,000 
11) Oz The Great and Powerful BV $629,000 Total: $232,192,000 
12) Pain and Gain Par. $620,000  Total:$48,532,000 
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10 Comments

  • Mark | May 28, 2013 2:24 PMReply

    The runway scene was ridiculous in many ways. Does anyone believe an unauthorized flight could land at a NATO base? No. Fighter jets would have been sent to intercept before it came anywhere near the base.

    And, jumping off cars moving at 100 MPH and landing safely? No.

    This was a very dumb but fun movie.

    Sadly, Hollywood doesn't get diversity. We'll get more movies with white action heroes with a few tokens.

    As for the Tyrese & Ludicris interaction, I found it discomfiting. There was something very wrongly retro about the dark-skinned black man being the comedic relief while the lighter-skinned black guys (Ludicris and Diesel) are presented as smart or heroic.

  • Africameleon | May 27, 2013 3:56 PMReply

    @D.C. - Hateration! No reason to spoil things for other ppl.
    @ Sergio - LOL, ditto. A very large body count in this one, even if we don't see the bodies AND yes, what up with the runway???

    I guess you're supposed to suspend belief (to some extent) but I think this franchise is successful because these people are human and the action is based in "natural-mechanical physics". They turned up the action and explosions in this one which I felt was actually a weakness. But the "love story" b/t Dom and Letty was good, IMO.

    One observation..... I feel like Ludacris and Tyrese's characters took up the comedic relief that the former Don Omar and Tego Calderon character's supplied in FF5. It made their characters more interesting in FF6, but I still think they should bring DO and TC back. Also, I'm not feeling the whole "black folks (latino and AfAm) serving snaps on obvious observations" thing going on. Not OK. I know Dom's family structure is the focus of these films, but I'd like background info on all of the supporting cast as well. Roman's a ladies man and simpleton, and Tej is a computer genius with jokes. Nope, do better!

    Oh and btw, I like Gisele and Han's storyline. FYI, he's Korean-American not Chinese. That was not cool D.C. - boooo hisssss. But, at least they got a side-story.

  • deecreative | May 27, 2013 10:57 AMReply

    LOL Sergio! I thought that myself, that runway scene I was like is this in slow mo' or is this runway really that long hahahaha I actually liked fast five a little better, it wasn't as over the top but I still enjoyed and will definitely be going to see Fast 7. Also the multi-ethnic cast is a plus! It's not just the cars, people like watching Vin Diesel in the movie, the know the back n forth between Ludacris and Tyrese, it all just works for the movie annnnnnnd you know what!? I don't think people even notice. I say props to Luda and Tyrese, how paid are they? hahahaha

  • Miles Ellison | May 26, 2013 8:20 PMReply

    "Also a major factor to the success of the series that cannot be overlooked was its inclusiveness. In order to separate it and attract a wider and more diverse audience from the typical summer blockbusters, the studio intentionally went multi-ethnic in terms of casting Asian, African-American, Latino (and everything in between) actors. The films have something for everyone."

    That's a beautiful sentiment, but these films are successful because of copious helpings of hot cars and ass.

  • Terry | May 26, 2013 1:01 PMReply

    Might want to watch the epic level of spoilers you just let out DC. Damn man.

  • D.C. Kirkwood | May 26, 2013 12:46 PMReply

    Congrats to Fast 6 cast the movie was good but it wasn't better than fast five. I look forward to Jason Statham in Fast 7. I think the actor that played his brother Sean? He did a really good job and held his own, compared to some of the other cast members. Im glad that girl Giselle and her Chinese boyfriend were killed off. They were weak cast members in my opinion. As far a Gina Carano is concerned Ill pass. She sounded real wooden while give her lines. The fight scenes were good but she needs alot of work. Marvel supposedly wants her to play Wonder Woman. I don't think she has what it takes as and actress yet and she is too short, stout, and she doesnt have that stand out beauty like Megan Fox. She has potential but not at this point in her career to lead a film.

  • Donella | May 28, 2013 9:13 AM

    I didn't want to say it cause I didn't want to hurt Sergio's feelings, but NO NO NO, to Gina Carano as an actress. She dragged down Haywire, which had a loaded supporting cast and talented director. Her best performance? The two seconds Michael Jai White allowed her in Blood and Bone, not even as support, more of a cameo.

  • Youbadassmutha | May 27, 2013 2:27 AM

    Geez! SPOILERS MAN!!! What gives? Ur either an unabashed fan or a hater to give away major plot details so soon! And it's DC not Marvel that owns Wonder Woman! Geez :(

  • Josh | May 26, 2013 2:25 PM

    I gotta chuckle out of Vin Diesel yelling about drawing Shaw away from the civilians during the tank chase.

  • sergio | May 26, 2013 12:57 PM

    "... the movie was good but it wasn't better than fast five" I agree and i think the series jumped the shark with this one. When you have characters literally flying through the air like some comic hero it sort of takes you "out" of the film.

    And 1) How come no one talks about how many actually get killed during that tank chase sequence? Is it because you don't actually see any mangled bodies? and 2) is that like the longest airport runway EVER?

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