Everything else aside, T-1 tells us ALL. Furious 7, (2015), the 7th and most recent installment in the Fast & Furious (F&F) franchise has had by far the BIGGEST APR or Easter domestic opening in the history of moviedom (almost $144 M). Furthermore, it’s Global Opening of $344.0 M is also the BIGGEST APR or Easter Opening, EVER. We estimate when it concludes its run, it will easily have the biggest total Apr and Easter Domestic & Global Box Offices, EVER. AND, indeed it will be April’s 1st $1 B flick. What an amazing Easter (& Apr) Egg Roll this installment has had and will continue to have. (The WSJ has noted that Furious 7’s opening is the 9th BIGGEST of ALL TIME)

Universal Studios has silver screened some of Hollywood’s most popular films with flicks like Despicable Me, E.T., Jaws, Jurassic Park & The Bourne Series.  But NONE of them can claim to be Universal’s biggest all-time box office franchise. In 2001, Universal released “The Fast and the Furious”. This action series about illegal street racing and heists has captured the imaginations & $$$$ of both folks here and abroad.  This franchise has been critical to the careers of Vin Diesel & the late Paul Walker. As it grew, it also annexed such stars as the “The Rock” (former WWE wrestler), Ludacris (rapper), Lil Bow Wow (rapper) & Tyrese Gibson (a Grammy nominated R&B singer).

The Fast & Furious NOT only gives Universal its golden ring but now it can hold its own among many of the biggest box office franchises in film land. In T-2 we see some movie franchises that were released in the same time frame as was The Fast & Furious with a similar # of franchised flicks. Unlike all of those franchises, The Fast & Furious is NOT based on a Comic Book or a Novel so it had to build its fan base from nothing. In the words of our rapper friend Drake “It started from the bottom (and) now we’re here”. The franchise’s 1st film had a respectable opening wknd of $40 M. Since then it has grown to a $50 M, $70 M, $86 M, $97 M & now in 2015, in the 1st wknd of Apr and on Easter Wknd its done $144 M. WOW! (It is almost 4 times its 2001 box office opening wknd.) Indeed, from a BIT to a BIG, BIG BANG! Except for a 2006 hiccup where NONE of the movie’s main characters appeared. (Vin Diesel at the last moment agreed to do an end of the movie cameo that helped launch the recent success of films 4-7. He cameoed for ZERO $$. In return he received the “rights” to the Riddick franchise. Just for the record, in 2013 Riddick did $100 M worldwide on a $38 M budget.) Furious 7 is the most coveted F&F of all time.

Continuing with T-2, we decided to compare the F&F franchise with the Avengers, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Spiderman & X-Men series.  While F&F did not have to apologize for its $900 M+ domestic $$ or its $2.4 B global box, it still was dwarfed. However, in T-3 we made a concession and then compared the box offices of each franchise’s last 3 movies. Given that F&F started from a different page in history (albeit one w/o a comic or book background), we can clearly see how its background disadvantage has dwindled and how its popularity has grown. It now actually rivals the aforementioned franchises not only did F&F come much closer to these legendary Book-Flick franchises but it actually surpassed X-Men in total worldwide/global box office.  With Furious 7’s $144 M opening and a likely global box office of $1 B±, it has more than earned its place with those other great blockbuster franchi$e$ and is writing its own story/book.

T-2: Franchises of the 2000s Comparison Ordered by Domestic Box Office (All $$ are Total$)
Flick # of
Yrs Range Studio Prod
Dom Box
Foreign Box
Total Box
Avg Rttn
Avenger Series 10 2008-14 BV/Par $1,710.0 $2,955.00 $4,205.20 $7,160.20 80.6% 2.80
Harry Potter 8 2001-11 WB $1,180.0 $2,390.10 $5,333.40 $7,723.50 84.8% 3.38
Lord of the Rings 6 2001-14 NL/WB $936.0 $1,846.70 $3,997.60 $5,844.30 80.0% 2.57
Spiderman 5 2002-14 Sony $1,027.0 $1,578.70 $2,384.60 $3,963.30 74.4% 3.30
X-Men 7 2000-14 Fox $925.0 $1,299.40 $1,753.70 $3,053.10 73.1% 2.71
Fast & Furious 6 2000-15 Uni $569.0 $937.80 $1,442.30 $2,380.10 54.4% 2.21
T-3: Last 3 Flicks in each of the above Franchises Ordered by Domestic Box Office 
Flick # of
Yrs Range Studio TOT Box ($M) Avg Rttn
Harry Potter 3 2009-11 WB $ 3,236.2 86 3.5
Lord of the Rings 3 2012-14 NL/WB $ 2,932.5 66 2.5
Spiderman 3 2007-14 Sony $ 2,357.8 63 3.0
Avenger Series 3 2013-14 BV/Par $ 2,133.8 82 2.7
Fast & Furious 3 2009-13 Uni $ 1,778.0 58 2.2
X-Men 3 2011-14 Fox $ 1,516.5 82 3.0
ADVERTI$ER$With any franchise as big and popular as Fast & Furious, comes a long line of advertisers wanting to have their brand affiliated with F&F.  In this yr’s Furious 7 we have Dodge, GoPro & Xbox One leading the way.  According to Ad Age, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (Owners of Dodge) supplied F&F with around 30 vehicles including some of their newer models like the 2015 Dodge Charger, Challenger R/T and the 2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited.  The Fast & Furious franchise is a huge success overseas having grossed nearly $2.4 B in the foreign markets & therefore, has foreign brands like Etihad Airways interested in sponsorship. Etihad which is based in Abu Dhabi, where Furious 7 was filmed, debuted a Boeing 777 plane which prominently displayed a Fast & Furious 7 logo.  Of course there are various cast members who want to promote themselves. For ex, Ludacris who has appeared now in 4 of the 7 films just released his new album “Ludaversal” on 3/31 but a few days before the film’s release. Mr. Ludacris understands the value of PUB.

About bernacmd

For over 24 years, University of Detroit Mercy Marketing Professor Michael Bernacchi, Ph.D., J.D, has produced "uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE", a newsletter discussing current "marketing and advertising¹s bends, trends & ends." A well-know fixture in Detroit and national media, UDM's marketing guru has made several appearances on CNN's "Talk Back Live," the Voice of America worldwide radio network (VOA), ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and on the pages of Sports Illustrated, Time, TV Guide, the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, to name a few. At University of Detroit Mercy, he has taught courses in Marketing Management, Consumer Behavior, Marketing Communications, Research and Corporate Social Responsibility and Sports and Entertainment Marketing. Michael Bernacchi can be reached at 313-993-1116 or bernacmd@udmercy.edu. Please appropriately attribute the following for their work on uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE: Yen Ju Lee Robert Rouse Vidhyasagar Natarajan Eric Baumgardner & Ian Young
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