Dominic Toretto and his family flew towards $320 million worldwide in its opening weekend (the second-largest of 2023 behind The Super Mario Bros. Movie), including a “soft” domestic opening of $67.5 million by Fast standards.
That last sentiment reinforces that our favorite high-octane franchise is slowly acquiring diminishing returns in the North American region. F9: The Fast Saga opened to $70 million during the massive summer COVID times in 2021, which would also include a multitude of theater restrictions and some being closed down. Fast X was brimming with even higher star-power courtesy of Jason Momoa and Brie Larson and should’ve picked up the slack. Middling reviews and a B+ from CinemaScore (much like its predecessor) didn’t light the world on fire enough. And, this domestic debut is a far cry from The Fate of the Furious‘s $98 million debut and Furious 7‘s record-high $148 million. Fortunately, international audiences still love this family and were not shy to back down (accounting already for 75% of the global tally).
This trend must continue as the preposterously high $340 million budget may not get covered enough by this feature’s projected finish with $730-750 million. In all fairness, some of the upcharges were still COVID-related, and the fallout with Justin Lin might’ve cost the studio some extra dollars. But, the sheer size of a star-strudded cast and overstuffed visuals might be more of a commercial problem than an artistic one. Universal might be “okay” if this grosses around what F9 did two years ago, but it’ll be a wake-up call to Vin Diesel to drop the budgeting maximum back down a few pegs for the next two (planned) sequels. At least Dwayne Johnson thankfully returned and will hopefully bolster the star power as he did half a decade ago.
In other news, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is still legging beautifully as it added $32.8 million in its third weekend (a 48% drop). The film is now at $267 million domestically and $659 million worldwide. Over $800 million worldwide is all but assured now, and it might even have a chance to slither past Vol. 2. The trilogy capper does cement that audiences want potent storytelling in the day and age of fatiguing, lackadaisical superhero content every other month. At this point, Chris Pratt is no longer the fourth most significant “Chris” in Hollywood; he makes a relatively straightforward case for first place. James Gunn will also pull as many supporters over to revitalize the trite state of the DCEU.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie earned $9.8 million in its seventh weekend, meaning with its $1.238 billion gross, it will pass Incredibles 2 to become the fourth-highest-earning animated film ever by Monday or Tuesday. It might still have enough juice to squirm its way towards Frozen’s $1.29 billion, but it has to continually leg out for June when more blockbusters scream their way in. Book Club: The Next Chapter earned $3 million in its second weekend in the U.S., and Evil Dead Rise has passed $140 million worldwide.
And John Wick: Chapter 4 has continued rolling, ensuring the series has passed $1 billion worldwide; audiences enjoy original-IP series when done proficiently well.
Next weekend sees the release of The Little Mermaid, About My Father, Kandahar, The Machine, and You Hurt My Feelings.