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With “Fast Five”, the fifth entry in the “Fast and Furious” franchise set to blow up this Friday (but already turning a mint overseas), Universal is looking to change up the formula a tad going forward. (The phrase, “Don’t fix it if it ain’t broken” comes to mind, but hey, I’m not a powerful suit wearing hotshot in Hollywood, so what do I know.) How will they do this? According to Deadline, the Powers That Be have made a decision to make further entries in the franchise “a series of heist films” instead of the street racing films that it started life as.
The franchise has always been a combination crime/racing flick from the very first film, but the street racing always had a prominent role in the films. That might be changing with “Fast Five”, which seems to put a pretty big focus on the heist in question if all those clips are any indication. And with “Fast Six” (the going title for the sixth movie, currently being written by Chris Morgan), the street racing will disappear even further in favor of a heist plotline.
The studio honchos agreed that the next installments had to be less about street racing and about more inclusive subject matter. “We’ve heard so many people say, ‘I’ve never seen one, and I’ve never wanted to see one…’ about the Fast franchise,” [Universal Chairman Adam Fogelson] said. “So if these movies were still about street racing, there was probably a ceiling on how many people would buy tickets. We wanted to see if we could raise it out of about racing and make car driving ability just a part of the movie, like those great chases in The French Connection, The Bourne Identity, The Italian Job,” Fogelson explained. With Dodge as a partner, “Our strategy behind one of the biggest bets we’ve ever made is that the business has gone so far towards CG action every weekend, that we really believe creating a movie with real action and real cars will be amazing stuff to people excited by seeing something real.”
Even with the swapping of genres, how much longer can they keep doing this? Or is the better question, how much longer will Diesel, Walker, and company keep coming back? Surely, there are other movies Diesel wants to do. Those “Riddick” sequels, perhaps?
In any case, Universal is looking at anywhere from a $50 million to $60 million for “Fast Five” when it opens this weekend. If that happens, you can bet your sweet Aunt Mary that “Fast Six” is gonna get the greenlight faster than you can say, “Vroom vroom vroom”.