‘Fast’ Franchise Box Office Steps on the Gas, Mostly Overseas  

No one could have blamed Universal studio mogul Donna Langley and her team for wanting to take a joy ride when Fast X opened to $251.5 million overseas, the biggest international launch of 2023 to date, besting The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. It set franchise records in key markets including Japan, India, Brazil and Indonesia. And it’s one of the few recent Hollywood movies to resonate in China, where it started off with $77.1 million.

The box office in North America is a different matter, where the car-racing franchise has been slowing down since the record-breaking start of 2017’s The Fate of the Furious. While the series has done most of its business overseas, domestic still matters.

There’s only one more movie planned — Fast X Part II — before Universal pulls over and bids goodbye to the core franchise, although insiders say there’s plenty of gas left in the tank for potential spinoffs.

The studio has been consistent when it comes to this point, although star Vin Diesel may have confused some when suggesting at the latest movie’s Rome premiere that there could be a Fast & Furious 12 that would serve as the final title in a trilogy.

The franchise hit its pinnacle when 2015’s Furious 7 took in $1.51 billion at the global box office, fueled by $1.16 billion earned internationally and $353 million domestically.

Two years later, the Fate of the Furious topped out at $1.23 billion, including $1 billion internationally and $226 million domestically. F9: The Fast Saga — which came out in 2021 during the difficult days of the pandemic — grossed $726 million globally after earning $173 million domestically and $553 million overseas. 

Domestically, the 10th installment received a B+ CinemaScore, the same as Fast 9. Like its predecessors, the pic is notable for playing to an ethnically diverse audience. Caucasians and Hispanics each made up 29 percent of U.S. ticket buyers, followed by African Americans (21 percent), Asians (12 percent) and Native American/Other (8 percent), per PostTrak.

Fast X cost at least $300 million to make — due in part to pandemic delays — and hopes to get to $800 million worldwide. Like previous installments, it is on course to see international grosses dominate.

The film is one of the few recent Hollywood releases to resonate in China, where it opened to an impressive $78.3 million after drawing storn audience scores. Other territory highlights: it took a sizable $16.7 million in Mexico, followed by France ($9.7 million), Brazil ($9.6 million), India ($8.6 million), Indonesia ($8.4 million), Germany ($8 million), the U.K. ($7.6 million) and South Korea ($6.7 million). And it scored a franchise-best $7 million in Japan, where 93.6 percent of moviegoers said they would recommend the pic to others.

Says Comscore analyst Paul Dergarabedian, “Fast X, by generating around 80 percent of its opening weekend outside of North America, demonstrates the smart business decision and enduring box office legacy of taking the characters and storyline into the international arena.”

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