'Fast & Furious 7' stakes out a 2014 release date

A new director and no Dwayne Johnson doesn't slow the studio down at all

<p>That is a car exploding out of the front end of an airplane. Is it any wonder the 'Fast &amp; Furious' franchise just keeps on growing?</p>

That is a car exploding out of the front end of an airplane. Is it any wonder the 'Fast & Furious' franchise just keeps on growing?

Credit: Universal Pictures

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Universal is not fooling around.

I understand. They've been looking for their ATM, their cash machine that reliably spits out money every time they release a new film in the series, and it's been a struggle at times. They sort of backed into this one. I guarantee there was no one at the studio at the time that "The Fast and The Furious" was made who had a vision of the franchise that exists now.

Justin Lin deserves a lot of credit for turning this into what can legitimately be called a mega-franchise now. At this point, it's such a big series, and the scale of the mayhem in each film seems to be swelling. Now that Lin is leaving, it would be easy to imagine that the studio would be worried. If you drop the ball even once with a series like this, you risk burning it down, and that's the last thing Universal wants.

Now that James Wan is onboard to direct the seventh film in the series, Universal wants to make it clear that they are moving full speed ahead with a new movie, and today, as part of their CinemaCon presentation, they announced that July 11, 2014 is going belong to them.

I mean that, too. At this point, I would not be willing to release a film the same day as one of these because I think they've created a very passionate fan base. I see people planning parties for the release of part six. I see how excited people genuinely are by the new film. It's every studio's dream.

I think it's got to be frustrating for the studio to realize that their aggressive schedule means they might not get their full cast back, but at this point, they've proven that the series is bigger than any single cast member. Besides, as long as they keep the focus on the unspoken love story between Paul Walker and Vin Diesel, everything else should fall into place.

We'll see how the rumors about this next chapter play out. Right now, I'm just excited to see how crazy the new film is, and I'm pleased to see James Wan rewarded with what should be a whole new kind of job for him.

"Fast & Furious 6" is in theaters May 24, 2013.

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Drew McWeeny
Film Editor
A respected critic and commentator for fifteen years, Drew McWeeny helped create the online film community as "Moriarty" at Ain't It Cool News, and now proudly leads two budding Film Nerds in their ongoing movie education.
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