The video game adaptation Need For Speed was released last year, in the hope that it could fill the rapacious maw of America’s need for speed in between Fast & Furious movies. A desperate few stumbled shakily to the box office, sweat staining their Dale Earnhardt Jr. jerseys, to get their car movie methadone. But most of the country seemed to agree that, despite the chemical kick of seeing Aaron Paul in a leading role, Need For Speed was a weak placebo. It received near uniformly negative reviews, finished at third place on its opening weekend, and took in just over $43 million domestically on a $66 million budget. All told, it seemed that Americans preferred to look elsewhere to fulfill their insatiable needs for speed, such as running very fast while pretending to be torn between two sides of the law. “My loyalties are divided and complex!” they shouted, leaning into the wind.
But the same cannot be said of China, where a population of more than 1.35 billion and dense, congested urban planning contributes to a need for speed so desperate, Need For Speed was actually a big box-office hit. And so, after earning over $66 million there—greatly contributing to its $200 million global total—Need For Speed is now being readied for a sequel as a Chinese co-production, similar to the one that made Transformers 4 for Chinese audiences who just can’t get enough of being threatened by deadly machines.
In fact, the same three production companies that backed that sequel are now planning Need For Speed 2 as a movie that will similarly film in China, with “significant Chinese talent” taking the jobs of the original’s America stars—none of whom are currently attached, nor is anyone else involved with its production. Indeed, as with so many industries, it seems China will now fulfill the world’s growing need for speed at a much faster, more efficient rate. Whether it will ever be enough to meet that rising demand remains to be seen, but conservationists should probably start looking into alternative sources of going really, really fast.