Franchises, generally speaking, are more like fruit than cheese (bear with us, we are going somewhere with this). They might need a film to ripen to their full potential -- sequels generally outgross their predecessors -- but in the main they run their course by the third or fourth film, as opposed to, say, maturing and finding greater audiences and creative highs with each new installment. So we were as surprised as you were that not only was "Fast Five" the the highest grossing (over $600 million now, nearly double the haul of its "Fast and Furious" predecessors) entry of the series so far, but it was also by far the most fun.
Maybe it was the tropical setting, maybe it was director Justin Lin -- helming his third picture in the franchise and stepping up his game, proving to be a top-flight shooter of action -- and maybe it was that all involved finally seemed to have realized the level of heightened idiocy that the series needs, in order to work. But we suspect a grand part of the appeal was the addition of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to the cast. The former wrestler has always had more luck in family movies than actioners on his own back, but seeing him face off against franchise veteran Vin Diesel held the appeal of De Niro and Pacino finally meeting on screen in "Heat," if De Niro and Pacino were grotesquely pumped-up Mr. Potato Head dolls.
And it seems that now Universal are going to try to repeat the formula, as Twitch reports that the studio is seeking another slap-headed action star, Jason Statham, to join the series in a future installment. As suggested by the mention of Germany in "Fast Five"'s tag, the series is heading to Europe, according to the site, with the studio looking to shoot both "Fast Six" and "Fast Seven" (or, if the sequels follow the pattern so far of ever-shortening names, "F Six" and, simply, "Fuh") back-to-back next year, and who better to come on board than Britain's premier car-driver/head-smasher, in Statham?
It sounds like early days at this point, but it's a pretty perfect match of "actor" and material, and it's certainly a good move for Statham to break away from his highly profitable line of assembly-line beat-em-ups to something more tentpole-y. Most of the surviving cast are expected to return, while Lin is so serious about the films that he dropped out of both a new "Terminator" film and the "Highlander" remake in order to make "Fast Six" (and, if these rumors are true, "Fast Seven"). We expect that they'll be making good use of those speed-limit-free autobahns when "Fast & Furious 6" hits theaters on May 24, 2013.