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Fast Five Box Office: Audiences Do Not Want ‘Originality’

Fast Five movie Paul WalkerFast Five movie with Paul Walker: Fifth installment in the action-packed, neuron-deprived Fast & Furious franchise is a global box office hit.
  • Fast Five movie box office: Do audiences truly want “quality and original” fare? The global success of the fifth installment in the proudly brainless Fast & Furious franchise provides further evidence that “quality” and “originality” are the two least important allurements for your average moviegoer.
  • In other domestic box office news, two new releases flopped badly: The Walt Disney Studios’ teen romantic comedy Prom and The Weinstein Company’s computer-animated Hoodwinked 2: Hood vs. Evil.

Fast Five movie box office: Justin Lin’s Rio-set action sequel about to become the biggest Fast & Furious franchise blockbuster

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

April 29–May 1 weekend box office: For the third weekend in a row, the no. 1 title on the North American (U.S. and Canada only) box office chart is set in Rio de Janeiro: Replacing 20th Century Fox’s two-weekend-champ Rio, Universal Pictures’ Justin Lin-directed action sequel Fast Five topped the chart with an impressive $86.2 million (including $3.8 million from Friday midnight screenings) from 3,644 theaters according to final studio figures found at

Icing on the cake: Fast Five‘s opening-weekend gross was about $2.5 million above Sunday estimates.

‘Official’ records

Officially, this fifth installment in the Fast & Furious franchise had Universal’s biggest three-day debut weekend ever. However, once we take into account a minor detail – something called “inflation” – the studio’s Steven Spielberg-directed The Lost World: Jurassic Park, which opened with $72.1 million (Fri.–Sun.) on Memorial Day weekend 1997, would have raked in approximately $126 million today.

Just as officially – i.e., taking neither inflation nor IMAX ticket surcharges into account – Fast Five also boasts April’s biggest domestic opening ever, beating franchise predecessor Fast & Furious$71 million two years ago (about $76 million today).

Anyhow, whether or not Fast Five’s box office records are actual records (in terms of ticket sales) shouldn’t matter at all to Universal, where suits must be thrilled to have greenlighted a bona fide blockbuster – the antithesis of most of the studio’s recent/near-recent titles. Examples: The Dilemma (opening gross: $17.8 million), Your Highness ($9.4 million), Charlie St. Cloud ($12.4 million), Robin Hood ($36.1 million), Green Zone ($14.3 million), and The Wolfman ($31.5 million).

Now, one record that’s indisputable: Fast Five has 2011’s biggest debut to date, having scored more than the combined opening-weekend grosses of two computer-animated releases, Carlos Saldanha’s aforementioned Rio ($39.2 million) and Gore Verbinski’s Rango ($38.1 million). Inflation doesn’t play a role here, though Rio had the advantage of earning about 55 percent of its take at costlier 3D theaters.

Costly but profitable global hit in the making

According to the Los Angeles Times, Fast Five officially cost $125 million. Unofficially – and, in all likelihood, more accurately – its price tag was a far heftier $170 million (as always, not including marketing and distribution expenses).

So, will the latest Fast & Furious movie be profitable?

You bet it will. In addition to its remarkable domestic opening-weekend gross, Fast Five has already taken in $45.3 million from 14 territories. Worldwide cume after a handful of days: A whopping $165 million.

Keep that in mind next time you hear people bitching that Hollywood studios lack imagination, as they churn out one sequel after another, recycling the same stories ad nauseam. The huge success of titles like Fast Five is the very reason for that business model: Audiences the world over will flock to see the same loud rollercoaster ride over and over and over and over again. Indeed, get ready for Furious Six (or variation thereof) in the not too distant future.

Same characters. Same plot. Same inane dialogue. Same action. Same stunts. Same weapons. Different setting.

Fast Five Vin DieselFast Five with Vin Diesel: Commercial and critical hit? Think again.

Critical hit as well?

One last thing: As per the review-aggregating website Rotten Tomatoes, Fast Five has a 76 percent approval rating among its “top critics.”

Does that mean this latest Fast & Furious franchise flick is a critical hit?

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

Look closer.

Fast Five has a no-more-than-“average” 6.3/10 average.

But then again … “no-more-than-‘average’” can be hailed as “critical acclaim” in this particular instance.

Brazilian-less Fast Five movie cast

Fast Five key cast members (including zero Brazilians): Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Jordana Brewster, Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Matt Schulze, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Elsa Pataky, Tego Calderón, Don Omar, and Joaquim de Almeida.

Plus Eva Mendes in a brief cameo.

Worldwide blockbuster

Update: Justin Lin’s Fast Five ultimately collected $209.8 million domestically and an estimated $416.3 million internationally. Worldwide total: $626.1 million.

That’s a hugely profitable global cume.

Its top international markets were the United Kingdom/Ireland ($30.2 million), Russia/CIS ($29.3 million), Germany ($27.1 million), Australia ($26.8 million), Mexico ($25.9 million), France ($23.1 million), Japan ($17.7 million), Brazil (where the movie is partially set, with $16.7 million), Italy ($15.5 million), Spain ($14.5 million), Taiwan ($11.8 million), and South Korea ($11.4 million).

Top Fast & Furious movie – for two years

For comparison’s sake: Fast & Furious – the franchise’s previous box office champ – cost a reported $85 million and went on to gross $360.4 million worldwide ($155.1 million domestically; $205.3 million internationally).

Globally, Fast Five would remain the top Fast & Furious franchise hit until … the next installment two years later. Here are the follow-ups in the last decade:

Justin Lin’s Fast & Furious 6 (2013; worldwide: $788.7 million); James Wan’s Furious 7, the last title featuring Paul Walker (2015; $1.515 billion); F. Gary Gray’s The Fate of the Furious (2017; $1.236 billion); and Justin Lin’s F9: The Fast Saga (2021; [during the COVID-19 pandemic:] $726.2 million).

Additionally, the spinoff Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, directed by David Leitch and starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, took in $760.7 million worldwide in 2019.

Prom movie Thomas McDonnellProm movie with Thomas McDonnell: Walt Disney Studios release is a low-budget box office dud.

Top Six movies: Prom & Hoodwinked 2: Hood vs. Evil flop

Trailing Fast Five on this past weekend’s domestic box office chart were:

  • At no. 2, Carlos Saldanha’s computer-animated musical comedy Rio grossed $14.8 million (down 44 percent on its third weekend). Cume: $104 million. Voice cast: Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway.
  • At no. 3, Tyler Perry’s family comedy-drama Madea’s Big Happy Family grossed $9.9 million (down – as expected – a whopping 61 percent on its second weekend). Cume: $40.9 million. Cast: Tyler Perry and Loretta Devine.
  • At no. 4, Francis Lawrence’s period romantic drama Water for Elephants grossed $9.3 million (down 45 percent on its second weekend). Cume: $32.5 million. Worldwide: $40.7 million. Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, and Christoph Waltz.
  • At no. 5, Joe Nussbaum’s teen romantic comedy Prom debuted with a disastrous $4.7 million from 2,730 venues. Cast: Aimee Teegarden, Thomas McDonell, and Cameron Monaghan. Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. Budget: A modest $8 million.
  • At no. 6, Mike Disa’s 3D computer-animated spy comedy Hoodwinked 2: Hood vs. Evil debuted with an even more dismal $4.1 million from 2,505 venues. Voice cast: Hayden Panettiere, Glenn Close, Patrick Warburton, and Joan Cusack. Distributor: The Weinstein Company. Budget: $30 million.

Thor is no. 1 internationally

Overseas, this past (outside the anti-Red United States) Labor Day weekend’s top title was Kenneth Branagh’s superhero flick Thor.

Starring Chris Hemsworth, Oscar winners Natalie Portman (Black Swan, 2010) and Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs, 1991), and Tom Hiddleston, the Marvel/Paramount Pictures release scored $83 million from 56 markets according to studio estimates found in The Hollywood Reporter.

Next weekend, Thor will be hammering Fast Five in the U.S. and Canada.

Fast Five Box Office” endnotes

Unless otherwise noted, “Fast Five Box Office: Audiences Do Not Want ‘Originality’” box office information via Box Office Mojo. Budget info – which should be taken with a grain of salt – via BOM and/or other sources (e.g., the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Screen Daily, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety,, etc.).

Comments about Fast Five and other titles being hits/profitable or flops/money-losers at the box office (see paragraph below) are based on the available data about their production budget, additional marketing and distribution expenses (as a general rule of thumb, around 50 percent of the production cost), and worldwide gross (as a general rule of thumb when it comes to the Hollywood studios, around 50–55 percent of the domestic gross and 40 percent of the international gross goes to the distributing/producing companies).

Bear in mind that data regarding rebates, domestic/international sales/pre-sales, and other credits and/or contractual details that help to alleviate/split production costs and apportion revenues are oftentimes unavailable, and that reported international grosses may be incomplete (i.e., not every territory is fully – or even partially – accounted for).

Also bear in mind that ancillary revenues (domestic/global television rights, home video sales, streaming, merchandising, etc.) can represent anywhere between 40–70 percent of a movie’s total take. However, these revenues and their apportionment are only infrequently made public.

Lastly, although a more accurate reflection of a film’s popularity (i.e., its number of tickets sold), inflation-adjusted estimates should be taken with extreme caution. For instance, they’re based on average domestic ticket prices (via the National Association of Theater Owners, unless otherwise noted) whereas numerous major releases scored a large chunk of their box office take at top-priced venues.

Vin Diesel and Paul Walker Fast Five movie images: Universal Pictures.

Thomas McDonnell Prom movie image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

Fast Five Box Office: Audiences Do Not Want ‘Originality’” last updated in February 2023.

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Bridget Flynn -

I’m extremely happy to see WFE staying strong at #2! Robert Pattinson has shown he can play the quintessential leading man, giving a great performance with some of Hollywood’s best, 2 academy award winning actors, Christof Waltz, and Reese Witherspoon. Although I am a huge Twilight fan, its wonderful to see R. Pattinson show another side of himself and flex some of that God-given talent. I thought the movie was very well done, and close to the book. Go,go go!

Betty b -

Because of the talented cast and unique storyline WFE is proving it has “staying power”. Many said it WFE would be in the 6 or 7th place by now. Not!

It’s a movie the entire family can enjoy together :-)

Thanks Zac


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