FAST X, the tenth installment of the famous car chase movie series, delivered a first-place finish by grossing $67.5M in its opening weekend. Episode 10 brings back Vin Diesel as Dom Toretto, with a bountiful supporting cast including Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Jason Momoa, John Cena, Jason Statham, Helen Mirren, Charlize Theron, Brie Larson, and Rita Moreno.
In this chapter, Dom and his family face their most formidable opponent in the person of Dante Reyes, played by Jason Momoa. Dante is fueled by revenge as he commits to destroying everything in his path and everyone who has meaning in Dom’s life. As typical for the series, audiences are showing more enthusiasm than professional reviewers, with FAST X scoring 88% from moviegoers and 56% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
Universal’s franchise began in 2001 with THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS, and the nine movies to date have grossed more than $6B worldwide. However, these movies may be showing their age with the FAST X opening weekend total of $67.5M ranking seventh in the series. When we look over the results from the last four films, the downward direction is noticeable.
Since the high water mark of FURIOUS 7, each subsequent movie has shown steadily declining results.
At last month’s CinemaCon conference, Vin Diesel made an impassioned speech thanking exhibitors for their support over the years and proclaiming his personal commitment to continuing the series. He explained that FAST X is the first of a trilogy of movies over the next several years. However, considering FAST X’s staggering production cost of $340M, it may no longer make economic (or creative?) sense to carry on.
On the one hand, the appeal of FAST & FURIOUS movies relies on the combination of a large cast of well-known performers and eye-popping special effects. On the other hand, the expense involved in assembling the A-list cast and creating the intense CGI effects represents a challenge to the bottom line.
Despite a sluggish domestic opening, more than 75% of the box office will come from its huge international appeal. This could still result in FAST X turning a profit. With some belt-tightening, the series may still live on so that Diesel’s vision is fulfilled Universal’s all-time leading franchise continues.
Marvel’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3 dropped down to second place in its third weekend by earning $32.0M, a drop of 48% from last weekend’s results. After a 17-day total of $266M, we remain bullish about the final tally for this $250M project. We expect to see a good hold over next weekend’s Memorial Day holiday, followed by solid ticket sales through the middle of June.
Universal’s THE SUPER MARIO BROS. MOVIE came in third, with a gross of $9.8M in its seventh weekend, a drop of only 22% from last weekend. The sterling performance of SUPER MARIO has exceeded all expectations, with a worldwide gross of $1.2B to date.
In fact, we are so positive about the potential for SUPER MARIO that we can well imagine it taking the baton from THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS to become Universal’s most important franchise going forward. While it is easy to envision SUPER MARIO in future iterations, the $6B box office from the F&F franchise illustrates how far the Nintendo star would have to go to lap the action series.
After last week’s perfectly timed Mother’s Day weekend opening of BOOK CLUB: THE NEXT CHAPTER, the adult-oriented sequel dropped into fourth place in its second weekend with a three-day gross of $3.0M and a decline of 55%. This gives Universal/Focus an extremely rare three out of four top finishers in the same weekend.
After ten days, THE NEXT CHAPTER has grossed $13.1M, which is a mere 41% of the original BOOK CLUB from 2018 which grossed $32.2M in its first ten days. We can now estimate that THE NEXT CHAPTER will gross $22M domestically and $40M worldwide over its total run. Given its modest $20M production budget, will most likely eke out a profit, but it will be a tough call when considering whether to write any additional chapters.
Warner Bros.’ EVIL DEAD RISE finished in fifth place with $2.4M, down 36% from last weekend. After 38 days, EVIL has produced a strong $64.1M and we expect it to wind up with a domestic total somewhere near $70M domestic and $125M worldwide. Last weekend EVILD DEAD RISE surpassed the third film in the series, EVIL DEAD, which earned $54M in 2013 and had previously held the title as the best performer among the four EVIL movies. Look for the next EVIL movie to appear about two years from now.
All movies playing in theatres this weekend grossed $122.6M compared to $77.6M from the same weekend in 2022. Last year’s top movie the third weekend of DR. STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS was the weekend’s top earner with $31M followed by DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA which opened with $15.9M.
WHERE ARE WE AS OF 5/18
After 19 weeks, 2023 has grossed 130% of the box office earned by this point in 2022, and 76% of the results from 2019.