The runaway success of The Fast and the Furious franchise has prompted Universal Pictures to maximize profits and limit time between releases by shooting the next two installments back-to-back. It’s a sound tactic financially as it’s essentially forming two separate pictures into a single, massive production. This seems to be a new trend in big budget franchises with both Twilight and Harry Potter filming the last chapter back-to-back and releasing it in two parts. Recent reports also suggest that Paramount and Hasbro are considering the same strategy for Transformers 4 and 5. Hit the jump for more on the next installments in The Fast and the Furious franchise.
The L.A. Times confirms that Universal is indeed looking into the back-to-back strategy. The Fast and the Furious 6 and 7 could also be considered Parts 1 and 2, since screenwriter Chris Morgan is currently working on story ideas for a single script that will connect the two pictures. Reprising his role as director from the last three The Fast and the Furious films is Justin Lin, having recently confirmed that he would not jump ship to take on the Terminator reboot. Although the 6th film is slated for release on May 24, 2013, the decision to shoot back-to-back could actually delay this a bit, if Lin is shooting part 7 before he has a chance to edit 6.
The idea of shooting back-to-back isn’t a new tactic for Hollywood, but as budgets swell and demand for the newest installment of these franchises remains high, it may become more commonplace. The benefits lie in the marketing and financial arenas and, if planned properly to allow for reshoots (as in Peter Jackson’s two-part The Hobbit), can be more efficient creatively. To be perfectly clear, efficiency does not necessarily mean “more creative,” quite the opposite actually. Shooting back-to-back doesn’t give the creative team room for feedback to find out if they were on the wrong track and it doesn’t allow for time off in order to generate fresh ideas.
But for a franchise as financially successful as The Fast and the Furious, I think the promised dollars will outweigh the creative concerns. Plus, if buzz is lacking, they can always slap Jason Statham with a franchise tag. Check back here to keep up with all the Fast and Furious updates.