The $7B Fast and Furious Franchise

The $7B Fast and Furious Franchise


If you’ve been around as long as I have, you’ve probably seen most if not all of the car movies I grew up with. Movies like American Graffiti, Two Lane Blacktop,  Gone in 60 Seconds, Ronin, Cannonball Run (both of them) Smokey and The Bandit (all three of them), Gand Prix, Le Mans and of course, Bullitt.

Back then, these movies were about Alpha males, with quick wits,  a penchant for muscle cars, women, and liquor, these were manly men movies.  Oh, the good ole, days.  Today’s car movies are a shadow of their former selves.

Take the Fast and Furious franchise. Its tenth installment dropped last week. Despite the untimely death of Paul Walker back in 2013, the franchise’s top actor, Universal has been milking this cow for a full decade with no sign of the end. However, why should it end?  Despite $250+ production budgets, these movies make 4-5 times that amount with each new sequel.

Today’s car movies are very different. They’re all about CG (computer generated special effects). In our days, men had to strap themselves into the car, hit the ramp at a certain angle at a certain speed, or they’d be two inches shorter or, they’d be flat on their back when they landed.  That’s some man stuff right there (cue the Tim the Tool Man grunt).

Stunt men (and women) still have a place in Hollywood movies, but back in the old days, when you saw a car flip, you can bet that there was a stunt driver behind the wheel. For me, that always made the stunts more impressive.

In the interest of selling movie tickets today’s immediate gratification generation, action movies rely heavily on fast cuts, over the top special effects and the Fast and Furious movies are the most over the top by far.

In Fast 9, they shot a Pontiac Fiero into space.

Those of us who lived through the Pontiac Fiero days remember that the Fiero remember that the car was made of plastic and urethane and hot days, the bumpers start to melt into the ground. The car was manufactured from leftover parts of other questionable GM vehicles.

If you think that was ridiculous, you should see Fast 5,6, 7, and 8. Just when you think that any one of these movies are over-the-top ridiculous, each new  sequel says ‘hold my beer.’

Fast X was more of the same: dead characters come back with flashbacks showing that they only ALMOST die, in 1970’s soap opera style.  Convoluted plots seem to be intentionally complex, perhaps to appease their ADHD audiences.

It works.  Don’t believe me?  Look at the box office numbers.  The more insane they are, the more money they make (almost always):


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It is now a $7 billion franchise just in movie ticket sales, add in licensed merchandising, and it has likely broken $10 billion mark., and while I applaud the fact that Hollywood is still making car movies, even if they lack substance or even logic. I say this because I know full and well that ina. few years, we, as moviegoers will soon have to sit through car movies that use only electric vehicles. I don’t know about you, but I can’t stomach the thought of a car movie using cars that sound like those Jetsons flying cars.

As the world moves into the sunset of internal combustion engines, there are many things that will change. Progress, they say.


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