The Fast and the Furious Media Franchise

The Fast and the Furious Media Franchise

The Fast and the Furious is a series of action films that centre on illegal street racing, heists and espionage and is Universal Pictures’ biggest franchise of all time being the eighth-highest-grossing film series of all time along with a number of successful merchandise, video games, and short films. Created by Gary Thompson, Directed by Rob Cohen and produced by Neal H. Moritz, they worked with Paul Walker to come up with a “mash-up of Days of Thunder and Donnie Brasco”. These two movies were not just selected as a basis for a potential creative and imaginative format but also as represented in Thomas Schatzs’ “The Genius of the System”, Days of Thunder was widely referenced as being a copy of Top Gun which was an iconic and cultural success and Donnie Brasco was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay; these reasons are what allows for these productions to be made in the first place. Furthermore Thomas Schatz also talks about how films are chiefly judged by its box office revenues when applied within a Company that is attempting to generate profit for its shareholders and this is the reason why a combination of successful movies is a foundation for The Fast and Furious franchise and why investment companies are more likely to go for this idea as similar iterations have produced profit.

The movie was pitched as a remake of Point Break which had a generally positive critical reception and later on gained a cult following, this cult following was the base foundations of what became a huge Fast and Furious fanbase. Point Break itself was based off of a novel by Kem Nunn called Tapping the Source and was nominated for a Nation Book Award. This showcases how postmodern thinking can be directly applied to this series as each title is a spin-off or edit of a previous piece of work and can be showcased as “A feature of mass production in the uniformity of the manufactured product” and it is never based off of a movie or novel that has been unsuccessful or just simply unpopular because large media companies are not going to accept movie ideas that are derived from previous unsuccessful iterations as they aim to gain the maximum amount of profit possible. Hobbs and Shaw is an extension of this method as they have seen the popularity and fandom for these individual characters in previous movies and have chosen to utilize this to better predict a popular and well received outcome.

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The main protagonist and actor, Paul Walker, is also primarily utilized as a risk minimization factor directly relating to Keanu Reeves in Point Break as the “cult favourite” due to it being “the greatest female-gaze action movie ever” citing the bodily condition of Reeves and Swayze, calling it a ‘Wet Western’. Paul Walker was picked for this role as he had been gaining popularity within teen films such as She’s All That and Varsity Blues as being an attractive, young male and can be represented as a method of differentiation with emphasis on style within the films, and through an integration with marketing and merchandising. this was a method for the producers to minimize risk by duplicating the stylistic choices that were present in Point Break by putting another attractive male as the lead role to prioritize on entering a market that was previously accessed in the previous movie. This is also applicable to the Hobbs and Shaw spin-off movie, featuring Dwayne Johnson who is considered to be one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time and is regarded by Time as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2016; and Jason Statham who is established as a leading actor in Hollywood and is praised for leading the 2000s and 2010s action movie resurgences as well as being one of the movie industry’s most bankable stars.

It is also being directed by David Leitch who directed the successful sequel to Deadpool (Deadpool 2). These factors showcase why the film industry minimizes risk by going with individuals that have been incredibly successful prior, along with keeping close to the original context of what the previous movie made it successful (as both men are regarded as attractive and role-models). Although there are differences that have been made with this later movie (Hobbs and Shaw) as it does not necessarily cater to what the original Fast and Furious was trying to portray and decides to instead aim on being an action comedy film, the first in the series being regarded as a “comedy” this decision would likely take into account Dwayne Johnson’s previous comedy movies that have been successful such as Central Intelligence, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and Baywatch and although Central Intelligence received generally negative reviews, it did successfully generate a large amount of profit.

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Another reason for the excursion into a different territory of films with Hobbs and Shaw is the overwhelming continual success of the franchise but the continuing worry that the interest will dry up soon. Although each of the past four films have done better than the last, by diversifying into different genres, Universal is attempting to crack into an oil well in different areas of the market so that when the original series does eventually dry up, they have managed to squeeze the industry dry of all it’s potential.

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