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Do forgive me for starting a thread on this franchise. But the box-office-trivia gods summon me, and I must obey.

Until now, the best opening weekend a film ever had in April was the $42.2 million made by Anger Management in 2003. But now, according to various online sources, the fourth film in the Fast and Furious franchise has grossed between $28 million and $30.1 million on Friday ALONE, and could easily make $65 million to $70 million for the weekend.

If those estimates hold, then this film will have the best opening weekend of any car racing movie ever -- beating the $60.1 million earned by Pixar's Cars in its first weekend in 2006 -- and it will also have already outgrossed the $62.5 million earned by the third film in this series during its entire run. (The only other film I can think of that outgrossed its immediate predecessor in a single weekend is Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me; the first film in that series grossed a total of $53.9 million, and the second film made $54.9 million in its first weekend on its way to grossing $206 million in total.) Of course, the fourth Fast and Furious film has not yet outgrossed the first two films, which ended up with between $127.1 million and $144.5 million each.

I wonder also if this film will end up having the best opening weekend for any film directed by an Asian-American (i.e., in this case, Justin Lin). M. Night Shyamalan's best opening weekend to date is the $60.1 million earned by Signs in 2002; and Ang Lee's Hulk opened to $62.1 million in 2003, though it's not clear to me whether he would be considered an Asian director or an Asian-American director, per se (while a number of his films have been made in Asia, his IMDb biography indicates that he was born and raised in Taiwan but came to the U.S. in his 20s so that he could go to university, and his children were born in the U.S., etc., so maybe he calls this continent home now?). (Although now that I check Lin's IMDb page, I see that he, too, was born in Taiwan; there is no indication there as to when, exactly, he moved to the U.S.)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Another record broken, as per Variety:

Not only did "Fast & Furious" post the best day for the Universal franchise since its 2001 launch, but the best opening day overall prior to summer and for the month of April. Warner Bros.' "300" previously owned the opening day title prior to May with $28.1 million while Sony-Revolution's "Anger Management" notched an April opening day high with $15.4 million. . . .

When the checkered flag is waved on Sunday, it's quite conceivable that "Fast & Furious" could rival the entire $62.6 million domestic cume of "Tokyo Drift," however fall below the $83.8 million three-day cume accumulated by Newmarket's "Passion of the Christ" after its Wednesday bow. "Passion" currently holds the opening weekend record for a pic opening before the summer season, followed by "300" which made $70.9 million.

If this is what April is like, then we can only imagine what May will be like (that's the month in which X-Men 4, Star Trek 11, Da Vinci Code 2, Terminator 4, Night at the Museum 2 and Pixar 9 open). But will we just be biding our time until then? Is there anything between now and then that could give F&F a run for its money? (The Hannah Montana movie, maybe...?)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I saw this movie last night, and it's terrible. I had no sense, exiting the theater, that the audience was any more excited about it than I was. That it's breaking box-office records is a truly troubling sign.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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During my senior year of college, I remember walking down to the student mailboxes to, er, check the mail. Now, there was this really boorish, frustrating non-trad. student who just hit on girls all of the time and made anti-Catholic comments when he wasn't (and when he was) doing that. As I was closing my mailbox, I remember seeing him trying to rope some gal in. She asked him, "How was your summer?"

"Oh, you know," he said. "Too fast, too furious."

I won't even think of watching these movies because of that.

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I'm wondering: if they make another sequel (based on those numbers, I'm sure they will), what will they name it? Fast, Furious? Oh wait, maybe FaFu. I think that's it.

Or The Fast & The Bi-Curious...

"You guys don't really know who you're dealing with."

"Oh yeah, and who exactly are we dealing with?"

"I'm the mother flippin' rhymenoceros."

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All I can think of is the Robot Chicken episode 3 Fast, 3 Furious, in which Mario, Speed Racer, Vin Diesel, the Duke Boys, and CHPS Patrol officers have a bloody, casualty-laden go-cart race.

Seriously, if they are going to keep making these crappy movies, can't they think up titles that don't suck?

-"I... drink... your... milkshake! I drink it up!"

Daniel Plainview, There Will Be Blood

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  • 9 months later...

Jason Panella wrote:

: I'm wondering: if they make another sequel (based on those numbers, I'm sure they will), what will they name it? Fast, Furious? Oh wait, maybe FaFu. I think that's it.

That would be nice, but apparently it's going to be called Fast Five instead. Apparently it will have the same writer and director as the last two installments, so expect more of the same. (And was Fast & Furious really Universal's top-grossing film of 2009? Wow. That studio really IS in trouble.)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 10 months later...

Hope nobody minds if we keep the entire franchise to one thread, instead of creating new threads for each installment:

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 1 month later...

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 2 months later...

Oh great. Now the screenwriter is working on Fast Six.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Jeffrey Wells cries "Religious Discrimination!" over the fact that the American poster for Fast Five erases that famous Jesus statue from the Rio de Janeiro skyline. (It's quite noticeable in the trailer, though.)

Incidentally, the Jesus statue was positioned very prominently in the animated Rio, which came out just last week. And it seems like only yesterday that the destruction of this statue was one of the more highly-touted money shots in 2012. Are Rio de Janeiro and its Jesus statue becoming something of a trend right now?

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I have seen it quite a bit, most noticeably in Hitch's Notorious.

Did Christian say he's reviewing the FIFTH installment of the franchise this weekend? I had no idea there was a THREE or FOUR. And I hear there's a SIXTH coming out? Where does time fly to. And this ISN'T the one with Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie, right? I'm certain it is not the same one, although I think that film had a number in it... 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover... No, that can't be it. 50 Days to Steal 50 Cars? Regardless, they all look like carbon copies to me and I obviously gave up long ago.

I did get to see that 50 whatevers film one time with a great big subwoofing sound system and a huge stack of zit-faced teenagers in the room. It was fun, but more for their fun.

Edited by Persona

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Persona wrote:

: And this ISN'T the one with Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie, right? I'm certain it is not the same one, although I think that film had a number in it...

Well, sort of. Cage and Jolie were in a movie called Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000), which has a word-number or number-word in the title. But it IS a remake of Gone in 60 Seconds (1974), which has a number-number in the title. (According to the IMDb, at any rate. I don't have time to track down the actual movies to check their actual title cards.)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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The PR company screening this film sent an invite telling us no guests were allowed because they expect a "massive" turnout.

That depresses me. Is there really that much pent up demand for another "Fast and Furious" film? I saw the last one -- or maybe it was the one before that; both, maybe? -- and don't remember tons of buzz about the film before or after its release.

EDIT: Turns out it was the last film, about which I wrote:

Before diving into the film's ho-hum plot and performances, let's note the most worrying thing of all about the film—its astounding box-office take. As I write this review following the film's opening weekend, its box-office haul exceeds $70 million, crushing the previous highest grossing film from the month of April—Anger Management, which took in $42 million during its opening weekend back in 2003.

I don't begrudge viewers who want to park their brains at the door and just have a good time at the movies, but this movie does not even qualify as "a good time." It's no worse than any other mindless franchise retread-not much, in any case. But nor is it any better. Indeed, the audience I saw it with left the theater quickly and quietly after our screening, expressing no audible or palpable sense of excitement. Could it be that the film's record-breaking opening is followed by a record-breaking drop in attendance during the film's second weekend in theaters, after word of mouth catches up to it? One can only hope.

So there WAS buzz about the film, at least for one weekend.

OH, GOOD HEAVENS! The previous installment made $155 million domestic and another $198 million internationally. I guess there really is "pent up demand" for this franchise.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Have I mentioned that I sometimes have to eat my words?

Not Jeffrey Wells, though:

I'm going to rip it a new a**hole tomorrow morning.

Ann Hornaday, on the radio this morning, said she didn't care for the movie because people come to the movie to see car chases, and this flick doesn't have many of them. Although the ones it DOES have are memorable, she said. She added that the audience she (and I) saw the movie with was really into it, FWIW. But she said the acting was bad. But that people will like the movie.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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FWIW, the few reviews that have floated past my eyes the last few days have been along the lines of "it's as good as the others" (faint praise, one might think) or even "this feels like the movie that all the other movies were warming up to".

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Should the name of this thread be changed/updated, or should we launch a separate Fast Five thread?

Dave Poland's sarcasm makes me laugh, as he goes after one of his favorite topics in the media's entertainment coverage -- the coming "demise" of theatrical exhibition:

Fast Five seems to be ushering a new era of theatrical domination!!!

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I forgot to mention, I saw Fast Five last week and I think "Give me the damn veggies" might be my favorite bit of dialogue so far this year. Taken out of context, or delivered by anyone other than the actor who says it, it wouldn't be anything special, but something about it made me laugh, here, so.

I note that Fast Five still has a 79% "fresh" rating at Rotten Tomatoes, which is way better than ANY of the previous films in this series (the original film has a 52% "rotten" rating, and the other three films range between 28% and 36%). And I find myself wondering if there is ANY other franchise in the WORLD in which the FIFTH movie was considered the best of the lot.

The fifth Star Wars movie was Attack of the Clones -- i.e. the lowest-grossing movie of the bunch, possibly even before we allow for inflation.

The fifth Star Trek movie was The Final Frontier -- i.e. the one directed by Captain Kirk, i.e. the one in which they search for God at the centre of the galaxy, i.e. the second-lowest-grossing movie of the entire series, even before we allow for inflation (ahead of only the tenth Star Trek movie, Nemesis).

The fifth James Bond movie was You Only Live Twice -- i.e. the one written by Roald Dahl, i.e. the first one that deviated seriously from the book on which it was based, i.e. the first one that Leonard Maltin gives a 2.5 rating to (after giving the first four films 3.0 or 3.5 ratings; I can't recall if he gave any of them 4.0 ratings).

The fifth Alien movie was Alien Vs. Predator -- i.e. the video-game movie, i.e. the one directed by Paul W.S. Anderson.

The fifth Saw movie was Saw V -- i.e. the one with a 13% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, lower than the rating of all but one of the other films in that series (the lowest-rated film is the seventh film, Saw 3D, at 11%; the other films all range between 17% and 48%).

The fifth Nightmare at Elm Street was Dream Child -- i.e. the one with a 29% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, lower than the rating of all but one of the other films in that series pre-reboot (the lowest-rated film is the sixth film, Freddy's Dead, at 19%; the other films, including the cross-over with Friday the 13th, all range between 41% and 95%).

The fifth Friday the 13th was A New Beginning -- i.e. the one with an 18% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, lower than the rating of all but two of the other films in that series (the lowest rated films are the third and eight films, Part 3D and Jason Takes Manhattan, at 14% and 10% respectively; the other films, including the reboot and cross-over with Nightmare on Elm Street, all range between 21% and 60%).

And so on, and so on.

I'm not counting reboots here, so it bears mentioning that the Superman, Batman, Terminator and similar franchises have so far never made it past four films with the same basic cast and producers etc. Although, hmmm, you could count Superman IV: The Quest for Peace as the fifth film in THAT franchise if you count Supergirl as the fourth film. (They have producers and one actor -- the guy who plays Jimmy Olsen -- in common; the Christopher Reeve Superman also has a cameo of sorts in Supergirl, via a poster that one character keeps on her wall.) But that wouldn't disprove the basic point I'm making here, would it?

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Given time, that rating will drop.

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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