The (short) history of motorsport film franchises


Before we continue: Happy 20th anniversary of my first feature film NASCAR: The IMAX Experience.

I revisited it 20 years ago to the day when my 6-year-old self first went to the theater in the dome of the Science Museum of Virginia, and it holds up! I highly recommend everyone to watch it again.

With all the sequels, prequels, and reboots constantly hitting theaters these days, I realized I hadn't written much about racing film franchises… and there's not much to say, because there have only been a few multi-films. Film motorsport episodes.

And with last month's blockbuster sequel coming to theaters, Tentpoles features the superb craftsmanship of Dune: Part Two for crazy fun Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (Who knew we'd have to see Godzilla outwit Kong, or Kong beat two Hollow Earth monkeys with a baby Hollow Earth monkey?), this felt right (don't worry, the baby Hollow Earth monkey was fine is good). This month we have prequels (The first omen) and original tariff (Civil War), so us moviegoers are doing pretty darn good right now.

Racing film franchises?

Not as much. As I've already pointed out, the most common motorsports films are either direct-to-streaming films or televised documentaries very occasional movie. Even back then, as we saw moment, rowdy And Rookie season In the last five years or so, their involvement has been severely limited. At least the first two, I believe, were one-night-only Fathom Events showcases. Rookie season was a really random release in March 2022 and played for about a week on a far less far-reaching topic. Imagine that.

In any case, let's do a quick overview of what franchises are out there. And there are about two. First, if you are truly an equal cast advocate.

The One Racing Film Franchise to Rule Them All: cars

Unfortunately (or fortunately, or in between, or a little bit of all three) our one true franchise-by-definition example is cars. Owen Wilson holds back on the “wow” parts while voicing Lightning McQueen across three films, multiple countries, and a trio of films of varying quality.

The first cars is great! I saw it in the theater when I was eight years old, bought it on DVD, and probably watched it five times or more. I haven't seen it in God knows how long, but the experience has stayed with me – as someone who has loved NASCAR since 2002 and who was just a kid when I saw characters representative of the sport I loved , and that these talking cars became characters that we cared about because it was amazing. And of course, those of us who saw it as young children later made further connections to NASCAR history.

There are also small details that stand out upon later inspection. In one of the opening scenes, there is a white #84 car with Apple branding (1984 when the company was founded), which is considered the only real company…along with companies like Leak Less, Nitroade and more.

It's also the perfect introduction to the way cars, like people, interact with the race day environment, with Bob Cutlass and Darrell Cartrip as commentators for the fans, souvenir dealers and more (there's a Winnebago dressed as Elvis, who has a whole another world opens). Cans of worms about how the king crossed over into the car world and a bunch of other things too horrible to think about.

Cars 2 …yeah, we don't talk about that. Not good!

Cars 3 is good. Not perfect, but it kind of hints at the arrival of the next generation in NASCAR. It's a decent watch and a solid return to form for the franchise, hinted at by Pixar with the clip of McQueen's particularly violent accident.

Owen Wilson, Bonnie Hunt, Larry the Cable Guy and Cheech Marin are the four main voices appearing in all three features.

The Other Kinda, Sorta Racing Movie Franchise: Herbie

The popular Volkswagen No. 53 has six feature films to offer, plus a TV series and a few other things here and there. Herbie fully loaded is probably the best known, just in terms of topicality.

I won't pretend that I've seen all six films or other media surrounding the Love Bug Fully chargedbut as far as casting consistency goes, that's not much: Jim Douglas appears in three of the films as well as the TV series as main character Dean Jones, and besides, there isn't much carryover.

However, that doesn't mean there weren't big names involved. The legendary Don Knotts showed up Herbie goes to Monte CarloCloris Leachman in Herbie makes bananas and of all people, the GOAT Bruce Campbell Disney's The Love Bug. I would like to see Ash Williams The evil death Fight a possessed Herbie.

Fully charged probably has the most stacked cast. A Lindsay Lohan who is at the beginning of her career and has just had success behind her Crazy Friday And Mean GirlsShe is joined by rising star Justin Long. We also have starring roles for the legends Matt Dillon (There's something about The Outsiders, The House That Jack Built, Mary) and Michael Keaton (too many iconic roles to mention).

There are also many guest appearances including Allen Bestwick, Tony Stewart, Benny Parsons, Kasey Kahne and others, as it is a NASCAR-focused film reflecting the popularity of the sport at the time. It's far from perfect, but after finally seeing it a few years ago, it has this strange charm that makes me like it more than I normally would.

Racing Films: Are the Days of Thunder Over?

I'm not sure if my game is on that X Men The film's title really worked, but that brings us to the potential for a moment Days of Thunder Movie. Since the success of , it's certainly been talked about and rumored about almost constantly over the last two years Top Gun: Maverickdirected by producer Jerry Bruckheimer and leading actor Tom Cruise.

These two were of course two of the driving forces behind it Days of Thunder. Tony Scott, who also directed Top Gun, True romance (which makes me believe with every re-watch that it is one of the greatest films ever made) and Crimson TideHe has since died. However, Joseph Kosinski has ridden the success of loner to direct the Formula 1 film starring Brad Pitt, which is currently in production.

I would spend all the money in the world begging Kosinski to stay in racing and give us something Days of Thunder 2and I wrote a few articles last year about a hypothetical lineup for it.

However, Kosinski. The guy knows how to make a damn good action movie (loner) with influencing emotional connections (Maverick, only the brave) and directed the film that I think really brought theaters back after COVID largely subsided. He has this in his pocket.

Keep your fingers crossed.

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