‘Fast X’ Revs $7.5 Million at Thursday Box Office

The latest “Fast Saga” film could still end the weekend above $70 million

Vin Diesel in "Fast X" (Credit: Universal Pictures)

Universal’s “Fast X” began its domestic box office sprint on Thursday with $7.5 million. That’s slightly above the $7.1 million earned by “F9” in June of 2021 during its Thursday previews.

If “Fast X,” which pits Vin Diesel and friends/family against a gleefully vengeful psychopath played by Jason Momoa, legs like its immediate predecessors (“Fate of the Furious” opened with $99 million from a $10.4 million Thursday in April of 2017), it’ll end the weekend with $71-$73 million. A slightly more optimistic path would be akin to “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw,” which earned $59 million in August of 2019 from a $5.8 million Thursday gross, which would equal $76 million for the latest installment.

With mixed-negative reviews (55% fresh and an average critic score of 5.7/10 on Rotten Tomatoes) heading into the weekend, there’s not a lot of hope for otherwise disinclined moviegoers to make the choice to check out the Louis Leterrier-directed actioner on a lark over the weekend. While “mixed” pretty much defines the critical consensus over the years for this 22-year-old franchise, the series had been on a critical winning streak from “Fast Five” (78% fresh with many calling it a new action classic) in 2011 all the way through “Hobbs & Shaw” (which still managed a 68% fresh, meaning 68% of the critics thought it was at least “fine, whatever”) in 2019.

This isn’t exactly a critic-proof franchise akin to the “Jurassic” sequels or the 007 series, both of which offer “can’t get this anywhere else” thrills and chills. That’s especially true as pretty much every ongoing franchise has adapted the whole “eclectic ensemble that comes together and becomes a surrogate family” trope, and as (to the Fast Saga’s credit) most major Hollywood franchises have comparatively diversified in terms of onscreen demographics versus 12 years ago when that was a major selling point. It’s harder to stick out from the crowd when every other series learns the right lessons from your success and turns your eccentricities into the standard formula. Tim Burton could relate.

To be fair, the only reason anyone is hand-wringing over a “Fast and Furious” movie only earning closer to $700 million worldwide than $900 million worldwide, with soft grosses ($27 million in two days) thus far in China, is that this installment cost $340 million. Some of that is due to COVID-related production upcharges, but some of that is due to the sheer size of the cast. Of course, if the series would stop A) turning villains into heroes and B) resurrecting dead characters then maybe they’d be able to keep that above-the-line budget in check.

That said, “Fast 11” is likely to be the last of the straight-up “Fast and Furious” movies (give or take spin-offs and the like), so it’s not like Universal is in a “Can this franchise be saved?” situation. There’s no law “Fast and Furious 11” (or whatever it ends up being titled) can’t reign in expenses and cost “only” $250 million next time out. But for now, let’s see how “Fast X” plays with moviegoers worldwide.