Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
April 14, 2015
Kim Hollis: Furious 7, the latest film in the franchise featuring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, The Rock, Michelle Rodriguez, and a host of others, earned $147.2 million during Easter weekend, has accumulated more than $252 million in 10 days domestically, and has a worldwide total of $800 million. What happened?
Edwin Davies: To me, it seems to be a mixture of paying off a lot of long-running trends and expert handling of something no one could have expected. Despite the blip of Tokyo Drift, which seems to be as much a victim of the awfulness of 2 Fast 2 Furious as anything else, the Fast and Furious series has always been pretty popular, so it's not surprising that it continues to be popular now. So that's the first trend. The second, and the one that is probably key to this result, is that the series has not only remained popular, but it has gotten better, or at least been more accepted, since it exploded with Fast Five. The last two films in the series were hugely popular, got great reviews (especially considering the kind of films they are) and built up tremendous goodwill as a result. To my mind, Furious 7 was always going to be a big hit because Universal did such a good job of handling the previous films.
The unexpected thing was, as we all know, Paul Walker's death. No one could have anticipated that happening when it did, and it could have ended the franchise (there was a lot of talk at the time of Universal scrapping Furious 7 entirely and taking an insurance payout to cover their losses), or at least sent it into a period of prolonged dormancy while everyone tried to figure out what to do next. Universal handled the whole situation very well. They shut production down while people tried to come up with a solution, and they allowed James Wan and his crew to come up with a story that would honor Walker's memory without seeming crass and exploitative. By all accounts, they seemed to do just that, and I think the goodwill towards Walker from the fans, combined with the momentum the series had developed up to this point, was what took the series over the top this time around.
Felix Quinonez: I think the easy answer is Paul Walker's death. It's hard to deny that this tragic loss has raised awareness in the franchise and that it lured a lot of viewers who wanted to see his last appearance in the franchise that brought him stardom. But I believe it would be a bit reductive to claim that is the only thing that's happened.
Ever since the fourth installment the series has seen its popularity grow. And as we all know, how audiences feel about a movie impacts their excitement for the follow up. And as I've stated, the last three entries have each become more popular than the last and it makes sense that this one would be met with more excitement. Add in the fact that it has great reviews and it shouldn't be surprising that it would keep this upward trend going.