Friday, April 28, 2017
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The Fate of the Furious

ff8 2 Weekend Box Office: The Promise, Unforgettable Crash; Fate of the Furious Hits $980M

Courtesy of Universal Pictures.
‘The Fate of the Furious’

‘Unforgettable’ marks a career worst for Katherine Heigl in opening to $4.8M, while Christian Bale-starrer ‘The Promise’ debuts to a paltry $4.1 million after costing $100 million to make.

Universal’s The Fate of the Furious left the competition in the dust at the North American box office, grossing $38.7 million in its second weekend for a 10-day domestic total $163.6 million and $908.4 million globally.

‘Furious 8’ Tops $900 Million Worldwide as Disney’s ‘Born in China’ Bests All Newcomers

Fate of the Furious is doing massive business overseas, where it earned another $163.4 million for a foreign total of $744.8 million — led by China with an astounding $318 million.

Back in the U.S., The Boss Baby placed No. 3 with $12.3 million for a domestic cume of $137 million, followed by Beauty and the Beast with $10 million for a global total of $1.1 billion.

Among the fresh crop of offerings, it was nothing short of a car crash, save for Disney’s nature documentary Born in China. The doc earned $5.1 million from 1,508 theaters to place No. 4 and come in ahead of the other new films.

Warner Bros.’ female-centric thriller Unforgettable, starring Katherine Heigl, debuted to a paltry $4.8 million from 2,417 locations, marking a career worst for Heigl for a nationwide opening. “It just didn’t resonate with our intended audience,” said Warner Bros. domestic distribution chief Jeff Goldstein.

Helmed by veteran producer Denise Di Novi in her feature directorial debut, Unforgettable, placing No. 7, stars Heigl as a jilted woman whose jealousy of her ex-husband’s new wife turns pathological. Rosario Dawson and Geoff Stults also star.

If there’s any solace, it is that the film cost $12 million to make.

The same can’t be said for the Armenian genocide drama The Promise, directed by Terry George and starring Christian Bale alongside Oscar Isaac. The big-budget movie opened to $4.1 million from 2,251 theaters after costing a hefty $100 million to produce. The Promise was fully financed by the late Kirk Kerkorian, who was of Armenian descent.

Open Road is handling The Promise domestically. The filmmakers say the movie has succeeded in raising awareness about the Armenian genocide regardless of its box-office performance, and that a $20 million donation will help create the The Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA School of Law.

The other two new films, action-comedy Free Fire and sci-fi thriller Phoenix Forgotten, had smaller footprints then their brethren but still disappointed.

Phoenix Forgotten, coming in No. 11 with $2 million from 1,592 cinemas, tells the story of three teenagers who disappear after trying to solve the mystery behind the 1997 UFO phenomenon knows as the Phoenix Lights. Ridley Scott, Wes Ball, Courtney Solomon and Mark Canton produced the movie, with Cinelou distributing.

British helmer Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire, a send-up of vintage action movies, grossed $1 million from 1,070 theaters for indie distributor A24. The pic, placing No. 18, stars Brie Larson, Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy and Jack Reynor.

Among other specialty fare, Fox Searchlight’s Gifted hit 10 crossed $10 million after earning another $4.5 million from 1,986 theaters.

James Grey’s The Lost City of Z expanded into a total of 614 theaters in its second weekend, earning $2.1 million to place No. 10.

ounding out the top ten is Bleecker Street’s expanded release of The Lost City of Z. After opening in four theaters last weekend the film expanded to 641 locations and brought in an estimated $2.1 million for a strong, $3,497 per theater average.

Finishing just outside the top ten is Cinelou’s Phoenix Forgotten, which opened in 1,592 theaters with an estimated $2 million and just behind it is Universal’s Get Out, which brought in an estimated $1.7 million to start its ninth week in release as the domestic cume for the $4.5 million budgeted feature has now topped $170 million.

Much further down the list we find A24’s new release Free Fire, which failed to capture audience attention, finishing with an estimated $1.03 million from 1,070 theaters.

In limited release, IFC’s Citizen Jane opened in two theaters in New York, bringing in an estimated $33,760 ($16,880 PTA) and will open in Los Angeles next week, followed by a rollout into the top fifteen markets throughout May. Additionally, The Orchard’s Jeremiah Tower also debuted in two theaters, bringing in an estimated $24,068 ($12,034 PTA).

Overall, the weekend was down 40% compared to last week as the top twelve couldn’t combine for more than $100 million for only the second time this year.

Next weekend sees the release of STX’s The Circle starring Tom Hanks and Emma Watson, Pantelion’s How to be a Latin Lover starring Eugenio Derbez and the next potential Blumhouse breakout feature, Sleight, a sci-fi actioner starring Jacob Latimore that played at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

the promise unforgettable Box Office: Fate of the Furious Crossing $900M; Promise, Unforgettable Bomb

Left, courtesy of Open Road Films, right, courtesy of Warner Bros.
‘The Promise,’ ‘Unforgettable’

Holdover ‘The Fate of the Furious’ continues to rule the road as new offerings ‘Phoenix Forgotten’ and ‘Free Fire’ also sink; the only new film to hold its own is Disney nature doc ‘Born in China.’

It is bombs away at the Friday box office, where four out of five new films are badly struggling, according to early returns.

Universal holdover The Fate of the Furious easily remains in the driver’s seat as it races past the $900 million mark globally. The eighth outing in the action franchise grossed $11.2 million Friday from 4,329 theaters for a projected $35 million weekend, putting it’s domestic total at $160.4 million.

Overseas, Fate will finish up the weekend with more than $750 million in foreign ticket sales — including $327 million in China alone — for a global haul north of $900 million.

Among the weekend’s new movies, Warner Bros.’ female-centric thriller Unforgettable, starring Katherine Heigl, grossed $1.7 million Friday from 2,417 locations for a forgettable $4 million-$5 million debut. If it comes in on the lower end, it could mark the lowest start of Heigl’s career in terms of a major studio title.

Helmed by veteran producer Denise Di Novi in her feature directorial debut, Unforgettable stars Heigl as a jilted woman whose jealousy of her ex-husband’s new wife turns pathological. Rosario Dawson and Geoff Stults also star in the film, which cost a modest $12 million to make.

While Unforgettable‘s financial exposure is limited, the same can’t be said for director Terry George’s Armenian genocide drama The Promise, starring Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac. The $100 million movie is projected to earn $4 million-$4.5 million from 2,251 million theaters for the weekend.

The Promise was fully financed by the late Kirk Kerkorian , who was of Armenian descent. Produced by his Survival Pictures, It is the first major U.S. film to address the massacre of Armenians during the waning days of the Ottoman Empire. Open Road is handling The Promise domestically.

Disney’s nature documentary Born in China — the one new offering that’s holding its own — could beat The Promise with $4.5 million from 1,508 theaters.

The forecast is likewise grim for the two other new films opening this weekend, action-comedy Free Fire and sci-fi thriller Phoenix Forgotten.

Phoenix Forgotten, expected to open south of $2 million from 1,592 cinemas, tells the story of three teenagers who disappear after trying to solve the mystery behind the 1997 UFO phenomenon knows as the Phoenix Lights. Ridley Scott, Wes Ball, Courtney Solomon and Mark Canton produced the movie, with Cinelou distributing.

British helmer Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire, a send-up of vintage action movies, is projected to open in the $1 million range from 1,070 theaters for indie distributor A24. The pic stars Brie Larson, Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy and Jack Reynor.

This weekend’s forecast is directly below. This post will be updated on Friday morning with Thursday night preview results followed by Friday estimates on Saturday morning, and a complete weekend recap on Sunday morning.

  • The Fate of the Furious (4,329 theaters) – $35.7 M
  • The Boss Baby (3,697 theaters) – $9.7 M
  • Beauty and the Beast (3,242 theaters) – $8.4 M
  • Unforgettable (2,417 theaters) – $8.2 M
  • Born in China (1,508 theaters) – $5.8 M
  • Smurfs: The Lost Village (2,737 theaters) – $3.9 M
  • Gifted (1,986 theaters) – $3.8 M
  • Going in Style (3,038 theaters) – $3.8 M
  • The Promise (2,251 theaters) – $3.2 M
  • The Lost City of Z (614 theaters) – $2.1 M

fate of the furious The Fate of the Furious (2017) Movie Review

Charlize Theron plays a superhacker who turns Vin Diesel against his ‘Fast’ crew in F. Gary Gray’s franchise debut.

After his surprisingly fun remake of The Italian Job in 2003, whose most memorable sequence revolved around a scene-stealing Mini Cooper, F. Gary Gray would seem to have been a no-brainer to direct a Fast and Furious installment — especially once Vin Diesel and his thrill-seeking clan segued from mere street racing to heists and other forms of high-speed mayhem.

But careers make left turns (in this case, a misfiring sequel to Get Shorty), and it took the success of Straight Outta Compton to get Gray in, well, the driver’s seat of this eighth installment of the stupendously successful cars-and-guns action franchise. The result isn’t as big a gear-shift as some fans expected in the wake of original castmember Paul Walker’s death. In fact, it recycles plot-twisting devices from earlier chapters and keeps action firmly in the street-hoods-save-the-world neighborhood entered a couple of years ago. Fate delivers exactly what fans have come to expect, for better and for worse, and it would be a shock to see it disappoint producers at the box office.

After being forced to rejigger the last picture mid-production when Walker died, the filmmakers let him rest in peace here. His character is mentioned only twice: once, in a line that cements his retirement to idyllic family life, and later, in a predictable sentimental touch suggesting he’ll always be part of the gang in spirit.

With due respect to the actor, who is clearly missed by his colleagues in real life, it isn’t as if the Furious franchise is hurting for dramatis personae: When Dwayne Johnson came aboard in the fifth film, things started to feel crowded. Then came Jason Statham, then Kurt Russell, and now we have a villain played by Gray’s Italian Job star Charlize Theron. Somebody get Bruce Willis on the horn, and we’ll have ourselves a proper movie for Episode 9.

Is it bloated? Damn straight. And even at well over two hours, Fate can barely find anything worth doing for Russell, a onetime onscreen badass who here functions as a sunglass-wearing expository device. The script actually has him say at one point that he feels obligated to “check in on you from time to time.” The words “…so I can earn this easy paycheck,” presumably, were left on the cutting-room floor.

Theron, on the other hand, carries plenty of weight in the story; she appears, however, to have little fun doing it. Her supervillain, a genius hacker known as Cipher, sneaks up on Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto in the middle of his Cuban honeymoon with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and assures him he is about to go to work for her. Dom scoffs, in that one-note macho way of his, until Cipher hands him a phone whose screen we cannot see. Soon Dom is “going rogue,” stealing a very powerful EMP device from his buddies (who have just rescued it from evildoers at the behest of Dwayne Johnson’s lawman Luke Hobbs) and delivering it to Cipher. Though scenes between Dom and Cipher give him ample opportunity to register his anger at being forced into her service, when he crosses paths with his old friends, Dom says nothing and keeps his big jaw clenched, appearing to have flipped loyalties overnight.

Yes, Furious scribe Chris Morgan used this device just two movies ago, when Letty returned from the dead as an amnesiac doing the bidding of some other villain, going so far as to shoot Dom before she eventually got her memory back and married the big lug. But let’s forgive the self-plagiarism, because pushing Dom to the bad-guy side for a while briefly solves the Furious saga’s biggest storytelling difficulty: convincing us there is a universe in which Diesel is more fun to watch than Johnson. Johnson had to sit out most of Furious 7 while his character recuperated from grievous wounds in a hospital; here, he leads Letty and company as they cope with Dom’s defection and try to keep him from acquiring even more weapons of mass destruction.

Relieved of this burden, viewers will happily go along with any other baloney churned up in Morgan’s thick-witted script. Sure: That EMP can wipe out all the electronics on a fortified military base without disrupting the video display sitting right beside it. Yeah: Dom can somehow arrange a sensitive meeting with a powerful figure while living as Cipher’s prisoner. Why not: The driver of a car who needs to communicate with supposed foes in other cars can just shout and have his instructions understood dozens of yards away, over the noise of zillion-horsepower engines and oncoming missiles. (Not to mention the submarine in hot pursuit behind them.)

There are no stunts here to top, or even to approach, the last film’s skyscraper-to-skyscraper jumps, and it must be said that some feats — like driving a car up the ramp of an aircraft that hasn’t bothered to land first — have come to feel rote. So let’s focus on moments of pleasure: chief among them, a long scene in which Hobbs escapes from prison (don’t ask) alongside his mortal enemy Deckard Shaw (Statham), the former Hulking out against guards and inmates alike while the latter practices his parkour. Or the few small moments early on when Tyrese Gibson gets to tweak his too-serious castmates with a throwaway quip. “What this series needs is more Tyrese,” you might say to yourself during the pic’s middle hour or so. But then you see the actor being pulled around a frozen Russian lake, screaming in panic as he clings to the ripped-off door of an orange Lamborghini, and you say, “This was not what I meant by ‘more Tyrese.'”

For a long time, it seems that the movie’s wittiest moment will be a blink-and-miss-it gag involving a car’s rear-view camera warning system. Then, toward the end, comes an extended sequence involving (no spoilers here) extreme violence, a wholly innocent bystander, an unexpectedly considerate brute and ear-protection devices. For a few minutes, Fate of the Furious might be funny even for someone who has never cracked a smile at one of Diesel’s self-satisfied line readings. It seems unwise to count on more such moments in future installments. But in a franchise whose increasingly ridiculous action set pieces beg variations on the cliche “jump the shark,” a detour into undisguised action comedy might be fruitful.fate of the furious ver7 xlg The Fate of the Furious (2017) Movie Review

Production companies: Original Film, One Race Films
Distributor: Universal
Cast: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Kurt Russell, Charlize Theron, Helen Mirren
Director: F. Gary Gray
Screenwriter: Chris Morgan
Producers: Neal H. Moritz, Vin Diesel, Michael Fottrell, Chris Morgan
Executive producers: Amanda Lewis, Samantha Vincent
Director of photography: Stephen F. Windon
Production designer: Bill Brzeski
Costume designer: Marlene Stewart
Editors: Christian Wagner, Paul Rubell
Composer: Brian Tyler
Casting directors: Chris Gray, Jeffrey Karantza, John Papsidera

Rated PG-13, 135 minutes

ff8 1 Box Office: Fate of the Furious Nabs $100.2M in U.S. for Record $532.5M Global Start

Courtesy of Universal Pictures.
‘The Fate of the Furious’

Thanks to an all-time best China launch of $190 million, the eighth installment in the popular franchise surpassed the previous worldwide record launch of ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens.’

Universal’s Fast and the Furious franchise is showing no signs of running out of gas on the world stage.

The Fate of the Furious, directed by F. Gary Gray, raced to an estimated $532.5 million global debut over Easter weekend, including $100.2 million domestically and a $432.2 million overseas.

If those estimates hold when final numbers are tallied early Monday, Furious 8 will eclipse Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($529 million) to boast the biggest worldwide opening of all time. Either way, it is assured of scoring the top international launch of all time, surpassing fellow Universal title Jurassic World ($316.7 million).

Furious 8 had the advantage of opening day-and-date in China, where it earned a massive $190 million, the biggest three-day bow in history. Overall, the tentpole debuted at No. 1 in all 63 foreign markets, and it did more business than any previous installment in 32 of those.

In North America, Furious 8 scored the second-biggest launch of the franchise behind Furious 7‘s $147 million. Furious 7 (2015) was the final film in the series to star Paul Walker, who died in a tragic car crash in November 2013. Globally, Furious 7 launched to $397.7 million (it didn’t open in China until a week later).

“This franchise is showing no sign of wear and tear,” said Universal international distribution chief Duncan Clark.

Added Universal domestic distribution president Nick Carpou: “Considering this is the second-highest opening of eight films speaks to the fact that people continue to be interested in the storyline.”

Long heralded for its diverse cast, Furious 8 played to audiences of all ethnicities and nabbed an A CinemaScore. Domestically, Caucasians made up 41 percent of the audience, followed by Hispanics (26 percent), African-Americans (21) percent, Asians (11 percent) and Native American/Other (3 percent), according to comScore’s exit polling service PostTrack. The pic skewed male at 58 percent, far more than the last film at 51 percent.

Highlights for the film’s international debut begin with the fact it was the #1 film in all 60+ territories where it opened, among which it was the largest opening in 17 of those territories: Argentina, China, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Israel, Lebanon, Malaysia, Middle East, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Portugal, South Africa, U.A.E., Venezuela and Vietnam. The largest of all of this weekend’s openings is the estimated $190 million the film brought in from China, which is the largest three-day opening weekend of all-time in China and, of course, the biggest Hollywood opening of all-time. Top grossing territories include:

  • China – $190 million
  • Mexico – $17.8 million
  • U.K. and Ireland – $17 million
  • Russia – $14.1 million
  • Germany – $13.6 million
  • Brazil – $12.8 million
  • France – $10.5 million
  • Korea – $10.5 million
  • India – $10.4 million
  • Taiwan – $9.7 million
  • Australia – $9.6 million
  • Middle East Combined – $9.3 million
  • Indonesia – $9 million
  • Argentina – $8.3 million
  • Malaysia – $6.8 million
  • Italy – $6.7 million
  • Spain – $6.1 million
  • Colombia – $5 million
  • Thailand – $4.7 million
  • Panama – $4.6 million

The Fate of the Furious has five more territories where it is set to open including today in the Philippines followed by an April 20 opening in Serbia, April 21 in Poland and Romania and an April 28 opening in Japan.

Gray is making his franchise debut after helming Straight Outta Compton for Universal. Fate of the Furious once again stars Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Elsa Pataky and Kurt Russell. Newcomers include Charlize Theron, Helen Mirren and Scott Eastwood. The story follows a villainous superhacker (Theron) who turns Diesel’s character against his crew.

The Fast and Furious movies have collectively grossed more than $3.9 billion globally. Furious 7 was far and away the biggest earner and the only installment to cross $1 billion on its way to finishing its worldwide run with $1.516 billion.

Fate of the Furious certainly spooked the competition; no other film opened against it nationwide.

At the specialty box office, The Lost City of Z did nicely for Amazon Studios and Bleecker Street, opening to $112,633 from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a location average of $28,158. The period adventure film, directed by James Gray and produced by Brad Pitt’s Plan B, stars Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson and Sienna Miller.

Another limited offering was the animated film Spark: A Space Tail, which debuted to a miserable $100,000 from 365 theaters for Open Road and the filmmakers.

Back in the top 10, Fox and DreamWorks Animation’s The Boss Baby placed No. 2 with $15.5 million for a domestic cume of $116.5 million and worldwide haul of $287.6 million. (Fox also celebrated Logan passing the $600 million mark globally over the weekend.) Disney’s Beauty and the Beast held at No. 3 with $13.5 million for a domestic total of $454.7 million and $1.043 billion worldwide.

Sony’s Smurfs: The Lost Village continued to remain obscured, falling a steep 51 percent in its second weekend to $6.5 million for $24.7 million in North America and $94.7 million globally. New Line and Village Roadshow’s Going in Style has grossed almost as much domestically as Smurfs, earning $6.4 million in its second outing for a domestic total of $23.4 million and $35.1 million worldwide.

Outside the top five, Fox Searchlight’s expansion of Gifted didn’t exactly light the box office on fire as it played in 1,146 theaters (+1,090) and brought in an estimated $3 million ($2,618 PTA). Gifted will continue to expand to around ~1,600 theaters next weekend.

Also, for the seventh weekend in a row (a.k.a. every subsequent weekend since its release eight weeks ago), Universal and Blumhouse’s Get Out had the smallest drop within the top ten. This weekend it dipped just 28% for an estimated $2.9 million as its domestic cume now stands at $167.5 million.

A few other weekend highlights include Kong: Skull Island, which brought in an estimated $2.67 million and has now surpassed $160 million domestically and Logan, which brought in an estimated $1.9 million and has now topped $220 million domestically.

In limited release, Roadside’s Tommy’s Honour opened on 167 screens where it brought in an estimated $218,920 ($1,310 PTA). Bleecker Street’s release of The Lost City of Z brought in an estimated $112,633 from four theaters ($28,158 PTA), narrowly topping Open Road’s Spark: A Space Tail even though Open Road’s animated feature opened in 361 more theaters where it could only manage an estimated $112,352 ($308 PTA).

Also, Sony Classics’ Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer opened with an estimated $103,664 ($20,733 PTA); Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary from Abramorama opened with an estimated $15,880 from one theater; GKIDs’ My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea opened with an estimated $15,215 from three theaters ($5,072 PTA); Cohen Media’s Heal the Living debuted with an estimated $3,176 from two theaters ($1,588 PTA); and FilmRise’s Finding Oscar opened with an estimated $3,000 from one location.

Next weekend sees the release of five new films including the Warner Bros. thriller Unforgettable along with Open Road’s The Promise, Phoenix Forgotten from Cinelou, Free Fire from A24 and, finally, Disneynature’s Born in China.

The Fate Of The Furious In Theaters This Weekend: Reviews of Fate of the Furious, Lost City of Z and More

Read what critics are saying about the Richard Gere indie drama ‘Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer’ and the jazz doc ‘Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Story’ which includes commentary from Denzel Washington, Bill Clinton and others.

The Fast crew, a 20th century British explorer and a so-called “fixer” are all headed to theaters this weekend. In addition to The Fate of the Furious and Lost City of Z, also hitting the big screen are Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer and the jazz doc Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Story, which includes commentary from Denzel Washington, Bill Clinton and others.

Read on to find out what The Hollywood Reporter‘s critics are saying about the weekend’s new offerings (as well as which film will likely top the weekend box office).

The Fate of the Furious

The Fast crew is back together again. F. Gary Gray’s take on the eighth installment continues the high-speed mayhem of the franchise, but this time in a way that challenges the loyalty of the crew when Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto crosses over and teams up with supervillain Charlize Theron, leaving Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese and Ludacris to go on another car chase-and-explosion-filled adventure to try and stop him. THR film critic John DeFore writes in his review that the franchise “delivers exactly what fans have come to expect, for better and for worse.” When it comes to the bottom line he says the film gives a “more familiar feeling than expected” after series star Paul Walker’s death.

Lost City of Z

Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Tom Holland and Sienna Miller star in the film based on a 20th century British explorer who disappeared while searching for a mysterious city in the Amazon. The adaptation of David Grann’s best-selling book of the same name was originally set to star Brad Pitt, whose company Plan B produced the film. THR’s chief film critic Todd McCarthy writes that the bottom line of the film is that it’s “traditional, in a very good way.”

Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer

Richard Gere plays an unusual but well connected “fixer” Norman Oppenheimer, who uses his relationships and skills to pull off financial schemes and political deals but starts to get in trouble when he gets connected to a Israeli politician who is elected prime minister (Lior Ashkenazi). McCarthy says that Gere “remains fascinating onscreen from beginning to end,” making his his hustler character “distinctive and different.”

Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Story

Denzel Washington, Bill Clinton, Cornel West, Common, along with family and friends of jazz great and alto sax player John Coltrane give insight into his short but significant career, which was cut short as Coltrane died of liver cancer at 40. McCarthy writes that “Director John Scheinfeld’s doc is a comprehensive, engrossing and, it’s tempting to say, worshipful account” of the life of the music titan whom “aficionados would agree deserves a spot on the jazz equivalent of Mount Rushmore.”

fate of the furious ver8 xlg The Fate of the Furious (2017) Movie ReviewCharlize Theron plays a superhacker who turns Vin Diesel against his ‘Fast’ crew in F. Gary Gray’s franchise debut.

After his surprisingly fun remake of The Italian Job in 2003, whose most memorable sequence revolved around a scene-stealing Mini Cooper, F. Gary Gray would seem to have been a no-brainer to direct a Fast and Furious installment — especially once Vin Diesel and his thrill-seeking clan segued from mere street racing to heists and other forms of high-speed mayhem.

But careers make left turns (in this case, a misfiring sequel to Get Shorty), and it took the success of Straight Outta Compton to get Gray in, well, the driver’s seat of this eighth installment of the stupendously successful cars-and-guns action franchise. The result isn’t as big a gear-shift as some fans expected in the wake of founding cast member Paul Walker’s death. In fact, it recycles plot-twisting devices from earlier chapters and keeps action firmly in the street-hoods-save-the-world neighborhood entered a couple of years ago. Fate delivers exactly what fans have come to expect, for better and for worse, and it would be a shock to see it disappoint producers at the box office.

After being forced to rejigger the last picture mid-production when Walker died, the filmmakers let him rest in peace here. His character is mentioned only twice: once, in a line that cements his retirement to idyllic family life, and later, in a predictable sentimental touch suggesting he’ll always be part of the gang in spirit.

With due respect to the actor, who is clearly missed by his colleagues in real life, it isn’t as if Furious is hurting for dramatis personae: When Dwayne Johnson came aboard in the fifth film, things started to feel crowded. Then came Jason Statham, then Kurt Russell, and now we have a villain played by Gray’s Italian Job star Charlize Theron. Somebody get Bruce Willis on the horn, and we’ll have ourselves a proper movie for Episode 9.

Is it bloated? Damn straight. And even at well over two hours, Fate can barely find anything worth doing for Russell, a onetime onscreen badass who here functions as a sunglass-wearing expository device. The script actually has him say at one point that he feels obligated to “check in on you from time to time.” The words “…so I can earn this easy paycheck,” presumably, were left on the cutting room floor.

Theron, on the other hand, carries plenty of weight in the story, however, she appears to have little fun doing it. Her supervillain, a genius hacker known as Cipher, sneaks up on Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto in the middle of his Cuban honeymoon with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and assures him he is about to go to work for her. Dom scoffs, in that one-note macho way of his, until Cipher hands him a phone whose screen we cannot see. Soon Dom is “going rogue,” stealing a very powerful EMP device from his buddies (who have just rescued it from evildoers at the behest of Dwayne Johnson’s lawman Luke Hobbs) and delivering it to Cipher. Though scenes between Dom and Cipher give him ample opportunity to register his anger at being forced into her service, when he crosses paths with his old friends, Dom says nothing and keeps his big jaw clenched, appearing to have flipped loyalties overnight.

Yes, Furious scribe Chris Morgan used this device just two movies ago, when Letty returned from the dead as an amnesiac doing the bidding of some other villain, going so far as to shoot Dom before she eventually got her memory back and married the big lug. But let’s forgive the self-plagiarism, because pushing Dom to the bad-guy side for a while briefly solves the Furious saga’s biggest storytelling difficulty: convincing us there is a universe in which Vin Diesel is more fun to watch than Dwayne Johnson. Johnson had to sit out most of Furious 7 while his character recuperated from grievous wounds in a hospital; here, he leads Letty and company as they cope with Dom’s defection and try to keep him from acquiring even more weapons of mass destruction.

Relieved of this burden, viewers will happily go along with any other baloney churned up in Morgan’s thick-witted script. Sure: That EMP can wipe out all the electronics on a fortified military base without disrupting the video display sitting right beside it. Yeah: Dom can somehow arrange a sensitive meeting with a powerful figure while living as Cipher’s prisoner. Why not: The driver of a car who needs to communicate with supposed foes in other cars can just shout and have his instructions understood dozens of yards away, over the noise of zillion-horsepower engines and oncoming missiles. (Not to mention the submarine in hot pursuit behind them.)

There are no stunts here to top, or even to approach, the last film’s skyscraper-to-skyscraper jumps, and it must be said that some feats — like driving a car up the ramp of an aircraft that hasn’t bothered to land first — have come to feel rote. So let’s focus on moments of pleasure: chief among them, a long scene in which Hobbs escapes from prison (don’t ask) alongside his mortal enemy Deckard Shaw (Statham), the former Hulking out against guards and inmates alike while the latter practices his parkour. Or the few small moments early on when Tyrese Gibson gets to tweak his too-serious castmates with a throwaway quip. “What this series needs is more Tyrese,” you might say to yourself during the pic’s middle hour or so. But then you see the actor being pulled around a frozen Russian lake, screaming in panic as he clings to the ripped-off door of an orange Lamborghini, and you say, “this was not what I meant by ‘more Tyrese.'”

For a long time, it seems that the movie’s wittiest moment will be a blink-and-miss-it gag involving a car’s rear-view camera warning system. Then, toward the end, comes an extended sequence involving (no spoilers here) extreme violence, a wholly innocent bystander, an unexpectedly considerate brute, and ear-protection devices. For a few minutes, Fate of the Furious might be funny even for someone who has never cracked a smile at one of Diesel’s self-satisfied line readings. It seems unwise to count on more such moments in future installments. But in a franchise whose increasingly ridiculous action set pieces beg variations on the cliche “jump the shark,” a detour into undisguised action comedy might be fruitful.

Production companies: Original Film, One Race Films

Distributor: Universal Pictures

Cast: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Kurt Russell, Charlize Theron, Helen Mirren

Director: F. Gary Gray

Screenwriter: Chris Morgan

Producers: Neal H. Moritz, Vin Diesel, Michael Fottrell

Executive producers: Amanda Lewis, Samantha Vincent, Chris Morgan

Director of photography: Stephen F. Windon

Production designer: Bill Brzeski

Costume designer: Marlene Stewart

Editors: Christian Wagner, Paul Rubell

Composer: Brian Tyler

Casting directors: Chris Gray, Jeffrey Karantza, John Papsidera

PG-13, 135 minutes

Fast Furious 1 Vin Diesel says alleged feud with Dwayne The Rock Johnson on Fast & Furious set was blown out of proportionDiesel and Johnson star in Fast & Furious franchise (Photo: REX/Shutterstock)

The actor has his say after Dwayne Johnson lashed out at unnamed male co-stars in August

Vin Diesel has broken his silence on rumours he feuded with Fast & Furious co-star Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson while filming the latest movie in the action franchise.

The speculation began when Johnson took to Facebook last summer and posting an angry message accusing some of his unnamed male co-stars of poor conduct on set.

Of course, given Diesel, 49, is arguably the biggest male star in the series, that started the whole saga that Johnson and Diesel had been at loggerheads last year.

Fast Furious 2 Vin Diesel says alleged feud with Dwayne The Rock Johnson on Fast & Furious set was blown out of proportion

Diesel as Dom Toretto (Photo: Universal Studios)

But Diesel’s now come out to say Johnson’s words have been “blown out of proportion” and while he hinted at a disagreement on set last year, he insisted everything is fine between them now.

“I don’t think the world really realises how close we are, in a weird way,” Diesel told USA Today .

“I think some things may be blown out of proportion. I don’t think that was his intention. I know he appreciates how much I work this franchise. In my house, he’s Uncle Dwayne.”

Fast Furious 3 Vin Diesel says alleged feud with Dwayne The Rock Johnson on Fast & Furious set was blown out of proportionDiesel insisted things are cool with The Rock (Photo: Getty) Fast Furious 4 Vin Diesel says alleged feud with Dwayne The Rock Johnson on Fast & Furious set was blown out of proportion

Vin said he’ll always have Dwayne’s back (Photo: AFP)

Diesel added: “I protect the franchise. I protect everybody including Dwayne. I protected Dwayne more than he’ll ever know. And it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t have to know. But he appreciates it. He knows it.

“Dwayne has only got one Vin in his life. Dwayne Johnson only has one big brother in this film world and that’s me.”

It’s the first time Diesel has fully addressed Johnson’s Facebook rant back in August 2016, which shocked fans.

Fast Furious 5 Vin Diesel says alleged feud with Dwayne The Rock Johnson on Fast & Furious set was blown out of proportionIn a scene from Fast & Furious (Photo: REX/Shutterstock) Fast Furious 6 Vin Diesel says alleged feud with Dwayne The Rock Johnson on Fast & Furious set was blown out of proportion

Johnson’s Facebook rant confused fans (Photo: Getty)

Johnson, 44, had said: “This is my final week of shooting Fast & Furious 8. There’s no other franchise that gets my blood boiling more than this one.

“An incredible hard working crew. Universal Studios Entertainment has been great partners as well. My female co-stars are always amazing and I love ’em.

“My male co-stars however are a different story. Some conduct themselves as stand up men and true professionals, while others don’t.

“The ones that don’t are too chicken s**t to do anything about it anyway. Candy a**es.

“When you watch this movie next April and it seems like I’m not acting in some of these scenes and my blood is legit boiling – you’re right.

“Bottom line is it’ll play great for the movie and fits this Hobbs character that’s embedded in my DNA extremely well. The producer in me is happy about this part.

“Final week on FAST 8 and I will finish strong.”

Fast& Furious 8 hits UK cinemas on April 12.

fate of the furious ver2 The Fate of the Furious (2017) Movie TrailerThe Fate of the Furious (2017) Movie Trailer

Watch the Trailer of this Movie:

The Fate of the Furious 8
(Universal Pictures)
Release Date: April 14, 2017
Director: F. Gary Gray
Writer: Chris Morgan
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Charlize Theron, Jason Statham, Scott Eastwood, Vin Diesel, Helen Mirren, Jordana Brewster, Kurt Russell, Elsa Pataky, Kristofer Hivju, Nathalie Emmanuel, Lucas Black, Michelle Rodriguez, Lee Hodge, Tyrese Gibson
Plot: When a mysterious woman seduces Dom into the world of crime and a betrayal of those closest to him, the crew face trials that will test them as never before.
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller



ff8 The Fate of the Furious, Free Fire, and 16 more movies hitting theaters this April

Though the summer movie season just around the corner, spring still has a few tricks — and blockbusters — up its sleeve in the hopes of dazzling moviegoers around the country. From The Fate of the Furious to Colossal, check out these 18 notable movies coming to theaters this April, below.

The Case for Christ

Release date: April 7
Release type: Wide

This Christian drama stars Mike Vogel as journalist Lee Strobel who, in 1980, launched an investigation into the foundation for his wife’s (Erika Christensen) religious faith. In the process, he frees himself from his atheistic ways.

Going in Style

Release date: April 7
Release type: Wide

Directed by Garden State helmer (and Scrubs star) Zach Braff, Going in Stylefollows a trio of retirees (Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Alan Arkin) who take matters into their own hands after a company restructuring puts their pensions in limbo. Hidden Figures director Theodore Melfi penned the script for this upcoming comedy.

Smurfs: The Lost Village

Release date: April 7
Release type: Wide

Everyone’s favorite blue creatures are back for another big screen go-round in Smurfs: The Lost Village, which sees Smurfette (Demi Lovato) finding herself — and a mysterious village — before an evil force does. Rainn Wilson, Joe Manganiello, Julia Roberts, Mandy Patinkin, Ellie Kemper, and Jack McBrayer lend their voices to this family-friendly animated comedy.

Colossal

Release date: April 7
Release type: Limited

Anne Hathaway takes an against-type turn in the dark comedy Colossal, director Nacho Vigalondo’s sharp (often hilarious) take on the giant monster movie genre — mashed with a gritty personal drama about overcoming addiction and regret, to boot. The Oscar winner gives one of her best performances to date in Vigalondo’s risky hybrid, which offers audiences one of the most comically satisfying payoffs in recent memory. “The movie’s coming from my obvious love towards monster movies, and I was always intrigued by the possibility of setting a monster movie story in a human scale,” Vigalondo told of the project near its TIFF debut last September. “This is a monster movie that collides with a small indie drama, which is an interesting collision.”

Gifted

Release date: April 7
Release type: Limited

Chris Evans acts opposite his former girlfriend Jenny Slate in Marc Webb’s intimate drama about a young math prodigy.

The Ticket

Release date: April 7
Release type: Limited

“There’s one way of telling [this] story, which is, ‘Everything’s great, he’s got his sight back, how wonderful,’ but actually he feels like he gains his sight, but loses a huge part of his identity,” The Ticket star Dan Stevens previously told of the film’s intriguing premise — a married man, blind for years, miraculously regains his sight, which begins to impact his life in ways he could never have imagined. “Things fall apart in a weird way, and he struggles to rectify that.”

Your Name.

Release date: April 7
Release type: Limited

Though Makoto Shinkai’s stunning animated romance Your Name. was submitted for Oscar consideration in the best animated feature category, it didn’t land a nomination — it posted massive worldwide box office numbers instead. The film has made a staggering $214.8 million in Japan to date, becoming one of the country’s biggest pop cultural phenomenons over the last year. “It was of course a very simple boy-meets-girl narrative, and I don’t think that narrative has been told in an anime medium in quite some time,” Shinkai told after the film won the 2016 LAFCA’s top animation prize. “Your Name.’s success told me movies still have the power to connect with society. As a medium, it still has a power that resonates.”

The Fate of the Furious

Release date: April 14
Release type: Wide

F. Gary Gray directs the latest installment in one of today’s hottest blockbuster franchises, with Academy Award winners Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren joining returning actors like Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, and Michelle Rodriguez for another Fast and the Furious adventure. Diesel paid tribute to the series’ former lead, Paul Walker, who died in 2013, at Fate‘s 2017 CinemaCon premiere. “Part of Paul’s legacy lives through every frame that we shoot. You are reminded of this angel that was so integral to this concept of brotherhood for our millennium,” he said. “There’s something beautiful about that. There’s something celebratory about that.”

Spark

Release date: April 14
Release type: Wide

Jace Norman, Jessica Biel, Hilary Swank, Susan Sarandon, and Patrick Stewart lend their voices to Aaron Woodley’s animated space fantasy about a band of space-traveling monkeys who work together to save a planet from an evil mastermind.

The Lost City of Z

Release date: April 14
Release type: Limited

Charlie Hunnam heads to the jungle as real life explorer Percival Fawcett, who embarked on a search for a secret Amazonian city in the 1920s. During production, Hunnam went the method route, telling EW he even went as far as ignoring his girlfriend to get into character.

Born in China

Release date: April 21
Release type: Wide

For its stateside release, John Krasinski narrates Disneynature’s touching documentary about the maturation of a young panda bear, a golden monkey’s relationship with his baby sister, and a snow leopard raising two cubs in China.

Free Fire

Release date: April 21
Release type: Wide

Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson takes aim at the action genre yet again in the thriller Free Fire, which earned strong reviews out of its 2016 premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Director Ben Wheatley said he cycled through 7,000 bullets to film the movie’s numerous shootout scenes.

Phoenix Forgotten

Release date: April 21
Release type: Wide

The Ridley Scott-produced found footage flick aims to add a fresh dose of thrills to the aging subgenre as it follows three Phoenix, Arizona teenagers who vanish while attempting to document their quest to uncover the truth behind a group of reported UFO sightings.

The Promise

Release date: April 21
Release type: Wide

Oscar Isaac fronts The Promise, a historical drama about the love triangle that blossoms between a medical student, an American journalist (Christian Bale), and a sophisticated woman (Charlotte Le Bon) during the last days of the Ottoman Empire.

Unforgettable

Release date: April 21
Release type: Wide

Katherine Heigl channels Ali Larter in Obsessed opposite Rosario Dawson in this campy thriller about a scorned woman who raises hell for her ex-husband’s new wife.

The Circle

Release date: April 28
Release type: Wide

Emma Watson further branches out from the Harry Potter franchise with Tom Hanks in The Circle, playing a curious employee who discovers a sinister secret harbored by her tech company employer. “I would never want to make a movie that would wag its finger at the audience or make them feel bad for the way that they live their lives because man, there’s better ways to spend a Friday night,” writer-director-producer James Ponsoldt. “I hope this movie is fun and that there is enough dark, comic, slightly thriller-y distance between what happens in the movie and your own life that you can just appreciate it on that level and then maybe self-examine if you so choose.”

How to be a Latin Lover

Release date: April 28
Release type: Wide

An unlikely cast of actors (Kristen Bell, Rob Lowe, Salma Hayek) join forces with Mexican actor Eugenio Derbez for a comedic romp about a man who, after a life spent seducing older socialites, must come to terms with his own age as he pursues a new target — a wealthy, widowed billionaire (Raquel Welch) — after his 80-year-old wife cheats on him with a much younger man (Michael Cera).

Sleight

Release date: April 28
Release type: Wide

Jacob Latimore is a young street musician tasked with saving his little sister from a nefarious kidnapping in this Sundance drama.

fate of the furious The Fate of the Furious (2017) Movie TrailerThe Fate of the Furious (2017) Movie Trailer

Watch the Trailer of this Movie:

FAST AND FURIOUS 8 – TRAILER
A Movie directed by F. Gary Gray
Cast : Charlize Theron, Scott Eastwood, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, Kurt Russell, Eva Mendes, Lucas Black, Michelle Rodriguez, Kristofer Hivju, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Marko Caka
Release Date : 14 April 2017
Genre : Action, Crime, Thriller

The Fate of the Furious Trailer (2017)
© 2016 – Universal Pictures



fate of the furious The Fate of the Furious (2017) Movie TrailerThe Fate of the Furious (2017) Movie Trailer

Watch the Trailer of this Movie:

FAST AND FURIOUS 8 – TRAILER
A Movie directed by F. Gary Gray
Cast : Charlize Theron, Scott Eastwood, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, Kurt Russell, Eva Mendes, Lucas Black, Michelle Rodriguez, Kristofer Hivju, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Marko Caka
Release Date : 14 April 2017
Genre : Action, Crime, Thriller

The Fate of the Furious Trailer (2017)