Justin Lin Stepping Down as ‘Fast X’ Director Is a $1 Million a Day Problem, but He Might Have Done Paramount a Favor Quitting Early

A few things in life are guaranteed: Death, taxes, and, in the 21st century, a new entry in The Fast and the Furious franchise every couple of years. The Fast and Furious franchise shows no signs of slowing down

Until now.

The next movie in the series, Fast X, hit a snag when Justin Lin stepped down as director. While Paramount looks for candidates to replace Lin, it could be spending up to $1 million per day while not filming anything. The delay adds to a budget that is surely well into nine figures, but Lin might have actually done the studio a favor by quitting when he did.

Justin Lin attends the 2021 premiere of 'F9: The Fast Saga' in Los Angeles. Lin stepped down as director on 'Fast X' but might have done the studio a favor by doing it early.
Justin Lin | Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

Lin stepping down as a director could cost Paramount $1 million a day

Fast and Furious star Vin Diesel posted a video to Instagram a week into shooting Fast X. With Lin sitting to his side, Diesel asks how the first week went. Lin’s awkward body language and brief responses seemingly telegraphed his decision to step down as director, which he announced on The Fast Saga’s Twitter account.

Getting someone in the director’s chair ASAP is crucial. The production needs to stay on track for the tentative summer of 2023 release date, but cost is also a huge factor.

F9 and The Fate of the Furious, the last two installments of the franchise, had budgets of $200 million and $250 million, respectively (per IMDb). The official budget for Fast X is unknown, but history indicates it could be over $200 million. According to Variety, every day the director’s chair is empty costs Paramount anywhere from $600,000 to $1 million. If it takes a month to replace Lin, the budget could swell by 10% or more.

The cost depends on what footage is in the can and what scenes are on the upcoming shooting schedule. Also, the longer the wait to find a director, the more likely it is that stars Jason Momoa (who plays a “flamboyant bad boy”), Brie Larson, and Charlize Theron will have to leave the film to return to their other franchise characters.

Lin stepping down as director is far from ideal, but he might have done Paramount a favor by doing it earlier rather than later.

Lin did the studio a favor by quitting when he did

Ideally, every person who signs on to film a movie sees the project through to the end. Lin won’t finish Fast X as a director, but he remains a producer and figures to retain his screenwriting credit. He still has a financial stake in the movie’s success as a producer, and he might have done himself and Paramount a favor by stepping down as director when he did. 

As Variety writes, if Lin stepped down amid shooting a huge action sequence or a complicated set piece, the larger the cost overrun would be. Since he left the project so early, it’s likely the bigger-budget shots are further down the line, which minimizes the cost impact. 

The longer Lin waited to step aside, the bigger the cost overruns would have been. The ideal outcome would have been Lin directing Fast X from start to finish, but leaving when he did could keep the costs lower. He did Paramount a favor by quitting so early in the shoot.

Aside from the director, we know plenty about ‘Fast X’s personnel

Aside from who will replace Lin as director and how quickly that person can resume shooting, we know plenty about Fast X.

Diesel, Tyrese Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, Sung Kang, Ludacris, Charlize Theron, and Nathalie Emmanuel return from F9: The Fast Saga

Diesel, who is a producer on Fast X (as well as six earlier entries in the franchise), announced Portuguese actor Daniela Melchior had joined the project before shooting commenced. Momoa and Brie Larson came on just before shooting started, though Dwyane Johnson is firmly done with the series.

Once the producers replace Lin as the director, all the pieces are in place for Fast X to speed into theaters in 2023.

RELATED: ‘Fast & Furious 10’ Could Introduce Time Travel and the Vin Diesel Multiverse