Universal’s “F9” can’t come soon enough for the box office. After the strong opening of “A Quiet Place — Part II” brought some hope that the post-pandemic recovery period might be quicker than expected, no other film has been able to come close to matching the performance of the hit horror sequel as weekend grosses have steadily declined over the past month.
The latest “Fast & Furious” film doesn’t need to match the stellar numbers of its $1 billion-plus grossing predecessors to be the turnaround title theaters need, but a higher opening than the $47.5 million earned by “Quiet Place II” is a reasonable goal. Analysts tell TheWrap that they project an opening in the $60 million range for “F9” while Universal is projecting an opening of $55-60 million. (For comparison, 2017’s “Fate of the Furious” earned $98.8 million in its opening Easter weekend.)
That would put “F9” on the same level as the 2019 “Fast & Furious” spinoff “Hobbs & Shaw,” which launched in North America to $60 million and grossed $173.9 million domestically and $759 million globally. While other recent releases have been released day-and-date on streaming or premium on-demand, “F9” will be only in theaters for 45 days before heading to PVOD.
With many parts of the world still struggling with COVID-19, it’s unlikely that “F9” could match that global figure. But the film has already done solid business in many overseas territories with $292 million grossed through Sunday, including a $203 million total in China that just tops the $201 million earned by “Hobbs & Shaw.”
While that total was significantly frontloaded by a $136 million opening weekend before lukewarm audience reception led to a strong dropoff, China has shown the potential for a solid run in the States. If the U.S. opening weekend matches projections, a $150 million-plus domestic run would be within reach if audience word-of-mouth is stronger among American moviegoers and “Fast & Furious” holds its status as a critic-proof franchise. It would also need to hold well against Marvel Studios’ “Black Widow,” which arrives in theaters when “F9” enters its third weekend.
“F9” sees Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) reunite his gang to take on his most personal foe yet: his long-lost forsaken brother Jakob (John Cena). Justin Lin returns to direct his third “Fast & Furious” movie from a script he co-wrote with Daniel Casey. Longtime cast members Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson and Sung Kang return along with Helen Mirren, Kurt Russell, Nathalie Emmanuel, Michael Rooker and Charlize Theron.