Updated: Meanwhile, The Hangover Part III pretty much bombed.
Via: Katelyn Mullen, Genius.org
It's hard to fully comprehend the feat that Vin Diesel and The Rock just accomplished. A pair of walking, talking, winking, completely bald, six foot tall human biceps, they have put a middling relic of a franchise about cars (no, not aliens pretending to be cars, a la Transformers, but just cars) on their backs and carried it to the top tier of Hollywood.
Buckle up for this: in a three day opening weekend, Fast and Furious 6 has nabbed $98.3 million. And in a four day Memorial Day Weekend, it made $122 million. And that's just in the United States; worldwide, it's taken in $275 million worldwide.That is absolutely bonkers, and here's why.
Fast has outlasted video game, comic book and tons of YA adaptations, and put movies out on a consistent basis, unlike nostalgia-fueled flicks like the Rocky franchise. Really, its only true peer is none other than the Harry Potter saga.
Also launched in 2001, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was an instant smash, earning nearly $1 billion worldwide. That far dwarves The Fast and the Furious's $207 million, and really, none of the numbers over the years are very comparable. But it has skyrocketed in profitability over the years, and so Fast is right on par with Harry Potter, start to finish, a product of organic growth and its own pure iron will.
You may not realize it, but there are lots of thematic and character similarities here (see: The Hero With a Thousand Faces). First off, we have the noble protagonist, born into cruel and unfair conditions, with a difficult family history. Dominic Toretto, meet Harry Potter.
For the plucky best friend and his love interest, we have a little bit of a twist. In the first film, Paul Walker's Brian O'Conner was the cop, a good guy but also an antagonist since everyone loves anti-hero Dom. They'd end up being best friends, and Brian fell in love with his BFF's little sister (Jordana Brewster), while Dom was devoted to the strong-willed, no-bullshit female lead Letty (Michelle Rodriguez).
Basically, it means that Dom and Brian swapped archetype ladies with Harry and Ron Weasley, since Mr. Lightning Forehead was the one romancing the little sister (Ginny) and Freckles ended up with the leading lady (Hermione).
There is also the powerful antagonist-turned-ally (The Rock is more or less Snape) and even an all-controlling baddie (Luke Evans and He Who Must Not Be Named) whose schemes are always one step ahead.
There's no real Dumbledore, but let's just give Ludacris that role, since they're both sarcastic and also really good with coming up with last minute technical magic.
Harry Potter is filled with quirky humor and earnest drama, but the Fast franchise is something different entirely. It is absolutely not a parody, but it pulls off the impressive feat of being entirely self-aware of its unintentional hilarity. And it's filled with obvious one liners, sentimental cliches, applause line punches and hang times only possible on the moon. And they all work.
Of course, other series have made more money, but even those ended before six films or were rebooted — see Spider-Man and Transformers for starters. Their trajectories are really entirely opposite of what Fast has accomplished.