Ten years ago back in 2001, Universal Pictures let a street racer movie called The Fast And The Furious off the chain. Back then, street racing was big and ruled by hot tuner imports. Universal's producers figured they'd throw in some hot chicks to go with the fast cars, cobble together a storyline involving an undercover cop getting too close to the guy he's supposed to bring down--you know, to string together the driving sequences--punch it out cheap ($38 million), bank a modest amount of coin and move on.
The critics panned it. Nobody expected a blockbuster.
TFATF rocked a solid $207,283,925 in receipts and Universal realized it had found an itch that had really, er...furiously needed scratching. Figuring to catch lightning in a bottle twice, they came back a fast two years later with the inevitable sequel, 2 Fast, 2 Furious. This time executives doubled the budget to $76 million so they could get hotter cars, do some bigger stunts and just for the hell of it, crash a yacht too. They set the whole thing in Miami and added some even hotter chicks.
The critics panned it again.
Three years later, the producers pumped in another nine mill to push the budget to 95, went to Japan, captured the original drift scene, and called it The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift. The critics, quite predictably, panned it.
And yes, the critics panned that one too.
Those of you good at math, have by now figured the critically unacclaimed F and F franchise has to date been good for a solid eight hundred million dollars on an investment of just under 300 million. That nets out at like a half a billion--PROFIT!
Looking to make the F and F hustle gross a cool billion, Universal is coming back in a few weeks withFast Five, the fifth installment in The Fast And The Furious fable. This time it's rolling with no holds barred. All of the most popular characters from the entire series (that didn't die in previous iterations) show up in Fast Five. Plus, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has been added to up the testosterone dosage. The whole thing is set in the city with the hottest chicks on the planet, Rio de Janeiro. The cars include a Nissan GT-R, a Corvette Sting Ray, a Ford GT, and a herd of Dodge Chargers.
Regardless though, all signs point to Universal scoring a gross of at least one billion dollars from five F and F movies in just over 10 years. Of course, everybody here knows fast cars involved in crazy stunts, incredible chases and apocalyptic crashes; when combined with super hot chicks--well--let's just say the Fast and Furious formula is clearly a powerful one.
Critics be damned.
Fast Five opens April 29.