The Fast & Furious franchise has just crossed a huge milestone at the box office, cementing its place in the cinematic history books. Thanks to the performance of F9 both in the U.S. and overseas, it has officially become the fifth highest-grossing franchise ever. The X-Men movies had previously held that position. But Dominic Toretto and the Fast Family have managed to overtake Charles Xavier and his fellow mutants.

F9 recently took in $70 million at the domestic box office in its opening weekend, marking the biggest opening since Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hit theaters in December 2019. Coupled with its huge earnings overseas from the past few weeks, the ninth entry in the main series, and the tenth in the franchise overall, has now earned $405 million worldwide, and counting. That puts the series total at $6.29 billion. The X-Men movies, all told, have earned $6.07 billion.

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe remains the king of the mountain with a staggering $22.5 billion global total, which began with 2008's Iron Man. Star Wars is in a distant second with $10.3 billion overall. Though the MCU has the unfair advantage of having multiple franchises under the same umbrella that crossover with one another.Harry Potter is in the number three spot with $9.2 billion, followed by James Bond at four with $7.1 billion.

The fact that the Fast & Furious movies are now in the company of Star Wars and James Bond is nothing shy of remarkable. The franchise kicked off in 2001 with the unassuming The Fast and the Furious. Led by Paul Walker's Brian O'Connor and Vin Diesel's Dominic Torreto, it centered on street racing and, relatively speaking, low-level crime. Over the years, it evolved into a globetrotting action spectacle, with cars at the center of it. The highest-grossing entry in the franchise to date is Furious 7, which took in a truly amazing $1.5 billion. It remains one of the highest-grossing movies, individually, in history.

This is an important milestone for many reasons. Namely, the movie business suffered immensely for the past year and change. Productions were hampered. Movie theaters were shut down all around the world. While things have changed, in some cases permanently, the success of F9 demonstrates that the theatrical experience is still viable. And that box office can still be an important part of the industry's future.

It is also important to note that Fast & Furious isn't done yet. Fast & Furious 10 and 11 will shoot back-to-back. Vin Diesel has confirmed these last two entries will conclude the main series. But further spin-offs are in the works. Hobbs & Shaw proved that can be viable. A sequel to that entry is in development, as is a female-led spin-off that does not yet have a title. Will that give it enough of a boost to pass James Bond? Time will tell. The release of No Time to Die in October will certainly make that more challenging. But, for now, Universal Pictures can take a victory lap. This news comes to us via Variety.