When can we expect the sixth film in the 'Fast & Furious' franchise?
As it turns out, the answer depends on which player involved in the franchise featuring souped-up cars you ask. But the financial incentives are high. Consider that "Fast Five" has already raked in $140 million in North America in just over two weeks and is a blockbuster overseas, where it could hit the $200-million mark within days. (For more thoughts on why the "Fast" movies are so successful, check out this Monday Calendar story.)
Not surprisingly, Universal Pictures -- which has fewer big franchises than most other studios -- seems ready to churn out another "Fast" movie. Studio Chairman Adam Fogelson said "everyone involved in the franchise is proud not only of the business result, but of the product on screen, and everyone involved wants to do it again."
And Neal Moritz, who has produced all five "Fast" films, said he would "be surprised if we didn't do" another film. He added that after changing genres from underground car-racing to heist in the fifth installment, the sixth film would probably move on to another genre, which he declined to identify, and would hit theaters in April 2013.
One person less certain about his future involvement in the franchise, however, is director Justin Lin, who has helmed the last three "Fast" movies. Before signing on to direct "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift" in 2003, Lin was best known as an indie director whose film "Better Luck Tomorrow" was well-received at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival.
Speaking from Taipei, Taiwan, after "Fast Five" premiered there last week, Lin said he had yet to decide whether he would return for another film, or move back to the world of independent filmmaking.
“I’m going to head back to L.A. in two days, and I have six projects sitting in front of me, from huge tentpole movies to smaller things,” he said. “I want to see another [‘Fast’ film]. I want the journey to continue. But I take it very seriously. And I would have to ask a big question: ‘Why would we make another one? What would it be?’ If neither of those things are answered, I shouldn’t be a part of it. I have to be excited, because you get up at 4 in the morning and there’s a lot to accomplish.”
Paul Walker, who has starred in four of the five "Fast" movies, said he would return for a sixth film only if Lin was on board. Actor Vin Diesel, on the other hand, seemed eager to begin production on a new chapter in the franchise.
"I didn't start production on 'Fast Five' until the studio proved they had the treatment for a sixth film," said Diesel, who now serves as a producer on the films as well. "When I returned to the franchise for the fourth film, I envisioned a trilogy following."
-- Amy Kaufman
Photo: Paul Walker, left, and Vin Diesel star in "Fast Five." Credit: Universal Pictures