HomeStandard PeopleFast 8 dominates Easter’s box office

Fast 8 dominates Easter’s box office

THE fate of the box office will comfortably be in the hands of The Fate of the Furious (Fast 8) tomorrow as this eighth installment in the Fast and the Furious film franchise will be king.

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Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson
Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson

As I write this article, Fast 8 is on its way to setting a new record in box office revenue.

The film was released on Friday with estimates going into the weekend ranging between $115 million and $140 million for the weekend in the United States.

Globally, Fast 8 is projected to earn between $350 and $420 million in box office takings.

The movie was released in the United States and across the globe. As such, Zimbabwean filmgoers got a taste of the film as Ster Kinekor Zimbabwe held the premiere for the film at most of their sites.

The film brings back the franchise’s main stars Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, and Chris Bridges.

It also brings back Jason Statham who was the “big bad” in the previous installment — Furious 7 — and Kurt Russell while introducing Nathalie Emmanuel, Scott Eastwood, Helen Mirren and Charlize Theron.

The film is noticeably without one of the franchise’s main stars Paul Walker who tragically died in a car accident in 2013. Going into Fast 8, the film needed to have a shakeup to compensate for the loss which it did.

In Fast 8, Dom played by Diesel and his wife Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) have gone on their honeymoon while the rest of the crew settled down to “normal life”.

But, as with all seemingly perfect endings the crew’s nearly normal life is thrown into disarray when a mysterious woman (Oscar winner Charlize Theron) convinces Dom to work against the crew. This results in the rest of the crew facing new challenges with Dom being one of them.

Of course, this would not be a Fast and Furious film without its signature car chases, action sequences, death defying stunts and fight sequences which Fast 8 has to push forward the film.

From the start to finish, audiences will have jaws dropping and gasp in disbelief as the film progresses.

The shakeup to Fast 8 was in its storytelling as it addressed the unasked question how do you replace Walker? Subtly, introduce a new one which is the role Statham has in Fast 8.

Statham is considered part of the reason behind the previous film’s success as the “big bad” that could have beaten Dom if not for the latter taking advantage of a faulty building.

It was probably hoped by doing this action man Statham would breathe life into Fast 8.

Secondly, how do you top the previous film and avoid the usual decline which comes with sequels? Make Diesel the kind of the “big bad” and position him against The Rock (Johnson).

This worked well in 2011’s Fast Five (the fifth installment in the franchise) where Johnson who plays Luke Hobbs in the films was after Dom. This led to an eventual fight between the two which did not disappoint and was one of the major selling points of the film.

Johnson is currently Hollywood’s golden boy in that he is the highest paid actor and was named the 2016 sexiest man alive by People magazine.

In fact, Johnson’s injection into the film was what was behind its massive resurgence as a bonafide blockbuster series!

So, with Fast 8 pitting Diesel and Johnson together, the film is working on building up on that previous tension.

Furious 7’s, the 2015 previous film, box office global haul of $1,51 billion has largely been attributed to Walker’s death as that was his last performance. Due to this, by rehashing the fight between Diesel and Johnson in Fast 8, the film is trying to get action junkies to watch in their droves.

On critic website Rotten Tomatoes, Fast 8 has a 65% rating.

Of course, all the talk will be dominated by Fast 8 but last weekend’s Smurfs: The Lost Village is worth mentioning as it is quickly joining 2017’s box office bomb squad.

Smurfs is based on a popular comic book series created by the Belgian comic artist Pierre Culliford in 1958 about a group of small little magical creatures.

The series over the years rose to become a phenomenon as many children fell in love with the adventures of the smurfs.

Over time, there have been many adaptions of the Smurfs with Smurfs: The Lost Village being the latest.

Smurfs: The Lost Village serves as a 3D reboot to the live action adaptions of 2013’s The Smurf’s 2 and 2011’s The Smurfs.

Smurfs: The Lost Village centres around best friends Smurfette voiced by pop star Demi Lovato, Brainy (Danny Pudi), Clumsy (Jack McBrayer) and Hefty (Joe Manganiello) who use a special map that guides them through a magical forbidden forest.

Their adventure leads them on a course to discover the biggest secret in smurf history as they race against time and the evil wizard Gargamel (Rainn Wilson) to find a mysterious village.

Now, the trick in getting a 3D film to work is about offering a story that touches on some real life values which speak to both kids and adults.

Examples include the Shrek films (the first two and not the rest) which centres around the theme “beauty is not artificial but from within”. Or the Toy Story films which centre round the theme “friendship”.

When you make a film which does not centralise its theme, it is bound to fail.

As such, Smurfs: The Lost Village often at times comes out as stale bread with a few giggles to get you by.

But, do not take my word the critics and box office takings speak loudly.

As of Wednesday, Smurfs: The Lost Village had grossed $16,91 million at the box office in the United States for a global haul of $59,01 million since its release on April 7. The film’s budget is $60 million so the only upside is that the producers will get back their money.

If you are thinking it is still too early to call, fellow 3D animation The Boss Baby released last month grossed $63,07 million around the same time in the United States alone.

Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 39% rating with one critic saying “Smurfs: The Lost Village may satisfy very young viewers and hardcore Smurfaholics, but its predictable story and bland animation continue the franchise’s recent mediocre streak.” Ouch!

The question at the end of the day for the box office will be how high Fast 8 can go which I am sure will not disappoint.

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