But aside from Universal’s “Fast and Furious” franchise, in which the pair appeared together in the last two installments, comparing their box office muscle shows some unexpected similarities and differences, leading to an interesting showdown.
This weekend, Diesel proved again his power outside the “Fast” franchise, helping another series installment, “Riddick,” defy the early fall doldrums. With an $18.7 million opening, “Riddick” failed to beat its predecessor’s $24 million opening in 2004, but the three-quel outperformed the original film, 2000′s “Pitch Black,” which grossed $11.6 million during opening weekend.
So far, “Fast and Furious 6” stands to be the highest-grossing film, by far, for Diesel and Johnson, with $788 million worldwide. “Fast Five” follows with $626 million globally.
After that, the box office results for both guys are far more varied. Here’s how they stack up:
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For starters, Diesel’s film debut — Steven Spielberg’s critical and box office success “Saving Private Ryan” — stands as his highest-grossing non-“Fast” pic, with $217 million domestically. For Johnson, it’s the 2008 comedy “Get Smart,” which made $130 million Stateside.
Powering up action kid flicks
“Journey 2” made north of $300 million worldwide during the first quarter 2012, making it one of Johnson’s highest-grossing films. But the WWE star has been lending his muscle to kid pics for a while now, with pics like “The Game Plan,” “Race to Witch Mountain” and “The Tooth Fairy,” all of which grossed more than nine figures worldwide.
Diesel also has dabbled in kiddie fare, though not nearly as extensively as his “Fast and Furious” co-star.
To date, the “Riddick” star’s most successful family film is “The Pacifier,” which earned nearly $200 million globally in 2005. Though “The Iron Giant,” for which Diesel voiced the title character, was a box office disappointment, earning just $23 million in 1999, the hand-drawn animated film since has become a cult classic among film buffs and art collectors.
Mixed producing grit
Ever since returning to the “Fast” fold, with “Fast & Furious” in 2009, Diesel re-joined the ranks also as a producer, having produced “A Man Apart” and “The Chronicles of Riddick” before then. Diesel had producing credits on “Riddick,” as well as all the subsequent “Fast” pics, including the upcoming seventh installment.
For Johnson, he’s rocked out behind the camera far fewer times: His first producing gig was earlier this year on “Snitch,” which topped out at $42 million domestically.