Here's How Producers Saved 'Fast and Furious' Franchise

The 'Fast and Furious' franchise was nearly a failure but, 'Furious 7' dominates the box office making over nearly $150 million.

According to reports, 'Furious 7' made $143.6 million domestic and $384 million worldwide. 'Furious 7' made about 50% more than the last 'Fast and Furious' movie's $97.4 million debut, and is the first movie in the 'Fast and Furious' franchise to make over $100 million in the first weekend. From EW:
Franchises don’t always do this well, which is why Furious 7’s success is that much more impressive. For example, the third Hobbit film just recently debuted with $19 million less than its predecessor—a decrease in earnings that signalled a decrease in interest. But the Fast and Furious films just keep on garnering more and more interest thanks to a combination of a beloved, diverse cast and a promise of each movie being even crazier than the last.  Furious 7 not only gets the title of No. 1 at the weekend box office, but a few other titles as well: It just had the ninth biggest opening weekend, right behind Spider-Man 3’s $151.1 million 2007 debut. And it’s the first film to have a $100 million-plus debut in April, according to Rentrak—beating out Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which previously held the April record with its $95 million opening in 2014.
But, before 'Furious 7' broke records. 'Fast and Furious' was nearly a straight-to-DVD franchise. According to Variety, after 'Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift', Universal executives thought the franchise ran out of gas. It was not until studio executives convinced Vin Diesel, the star of the original film to return to the series and focused on heists instead of cars. Since, then each new movie was bigger then the last.
Most series get rebooted when they start to grow long in the tooth, but the “Fast and Furious” movies double down on what worked originally, bringing back castmembers who had cycled out at various points such as Diesel, Lucas Black and Michelle Rodriguez. They’ve also wisely injected fresh blood into the series, introducing Dwayne Johnson in the fifth film and adding B-movie gods Jason Statham and Kurt Russell to the mix in “Furious 7.”
What also played a huge part on the franchise was the amount of diversity in the movie's cast. Which was a huge deal, according to the Wall Street Journal, 75% of all movie-goers who went to see 'Fast and Furious' was non-white.
Moreover, the cast ranks as the most diverse among modern movie franchises, including African-Americans and Latino actors like Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson and Rodriguez. It is also less male-dominated than the average blockbusters, giving its female stars a chance to kick ass too.
What do you think? Discuss this story with fellow Project Casting fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @projectcasting.