Sunday, May 1, 2011

Will Fast Five reach $200m domestically?

MovieOpening WeekendOverall GrossMultiplier
The Fast and the Furious$40.1m$144.5m3.60
2 Fast and 2 Furious$50.5m$127.2m2.52
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift$24.0m$62.5m2.60
Fast and Furious$71.0m$155.1m2.18

Fast Five needs a 2.39 multiplier to reach $200m. From first glance, it appears in general, the series is on a downwarding trend in term of overall multiplier, and it will be difficult for Fast Five to get there.  However, there are several good reasons to believe the film will reverse the trend and improve upon the multiplier from the previous film Fast and Furious.

Release date: Fast Five is three weeks closer to May and will see its weekdays benefit more from colleges being over in a couple of weeks, as by then it should still be earning over $15m for the weekend.

IMAX: The holding power of IMAX is well known, and it accounted for 10% of Fast Five's opening frame.  To demonstrate how much it would help stabilizing a film's hold, let's suppose the non-IMAX portion of the gross drops 60% on the second weekend and the IMAX portion drops 25%, the sophomore take would be 83.6*0.9*0.4 + 83.6*0.1*0.75 = $36.4m, or a 56.5% decline overall, a 3.5 points improvement over the non-IMAX drop.  In fact, the Sunday itself, which Universal is projecting a 37.3% drop from Saturday, could go up with actual due to IMAX help (and if it does, the required multiplier will be lowered).

Word-of-mouth and Demographics: it received an A CinemaScore and skewed older comparing to Fast and Furious with 48% over 25 years old.  Both factors could have accounted for the improved Saturday hold.  It dipped only 1.5% from Friday when we exclude the midnight, much better than Fast and Furious's 14% drop.  For a fifth film, that is a very good sign.

Competition: The films in May that could be considered competition include Thor, Priest, Pirates of the Caribbean 4, and The Hangover Part II.  The first three are in 3D, and the last one is rated R, so there is a room for Fast Five on each upcoming weekend.

With all these advantages, I believe Fast Five will get the multiplier needed to pass $200m, and if it appears the film will need a bit extra kick, Universal does have another weapon in late July: Cowboys & Aliens. Through double-featuring and/or other means, look for Fast Five to jump that weekend, strong enough to milk another $1m or so toward the total gross from that point on.


  1. Good points Xia. Personally I believe WOM will be the biggest factor in FF reaching a 200m gross. Having seen it spread like wildfire in Australia I think the same level of buzz will be generated in NA.

    Does FF keep IMAX next week or does Thor steal it's screens?

  2. I imagine Thor will steal some screens, but not all? Good point, and need to confirm.