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Marketplace Morning Report

‘Furious 7’ charges up box office, diverse audiences

Kai Ryssdal Apr 8, 2015
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For less than a week’s work, over $174 million isn’t so bad. Add another $250 million on top of that for overseas box office, and “Furious 7” is off and running.

The latest installment of the “Fast and Furious” franchise went ahead despite the death of star Paul Walker a year a half ago, using a mix of CGI and body doubles to keep his character in the film. 

“I love these movies,” says Wesley Morris, film critic at Grantland. “They’re so much better made than they even need to be.” 

This isn’t high art, Morris says, but a highly entertaining series of impossible stunts, gaining praise form critics and filmgoers alike. The cast is also more racially diverse than the average blockbuster, encouraging a broader audience to go out and buy tickets. 

“I think the number is 75 percent non-white — the audience,” Morris said, but here’s a note for distributors growing smug about their profit margins. “People think that Universal has the multiracial, multiethnic thing locked up, right? I think they have the ‘Fast and Furious’ thing locked up.” 

And to retain audiences long-term, studios will have to offer more than sleek cars and an appealing ensemble cast. 

“People don’t only want to see brown people drive cars and rob banks,” Morris said. “With the right the people and the right story, you can have a diverse cast without calling attention to the fact that you have a diverse cast.” 

As for Furious 7, you don’t have to see the prior six to enjoy it, Morris says. All you need is a healthy appreciation for cars parachuting backward out of cargo planes.

 

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