Movie theaters were hoping that Universal’s “F9” would give the box office a jolt, and that’s just what has happened. The latest film in the two-decade-long blockbuster franchise earned $30 million on Friday, including $7.1 million on Thursday, with industry estimates now gauging a $68 million opening. That is the highest for any film since “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” in December 2019.
Given the current state of the recovering box office, “F9” was never expected to come close to the $98.7 million launch of its 2017 predecessor, “The Fate of the Furious,” even with the widest release since the pandemic began at 4,179 screens. But it is on course to meet independent tracker projections and will top the $60 million opening of the 2019 “Fast & Furious” spinoff, “Hobbs & Shaw.” The launch will also push the film past $350 million worldwide and looks to become the first Hollywood film since “Rise of Skywalker” to gross over $500 million.
Reception for the film has been generally positive with a 61% critics score and 85% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes to go with a B+ on Rotten Tomatoes. By comparison, “Hobbs & Shaw” had an 88% audience RT score and A- CinemaScore rating, while “Fate of the Furious” had 72% and an A. With Universal planning to give “F9” a 45-day exclusive theatrical run, the film will need strong word of mouth to leg out to a $150 million-plus domestic total, especially once Marvel Studios’ “Black Widow” gets released in two weeks.
As expected, only modest contributions from holdovers make up the rest of the Top 5. Paramount’s “A Quiet Place — Part II” continues to outlast later releases to stay in the No. 2 spot with $1.8 million on Friday and an estimated $5.9 million in its fifth weekend, giving it a total of $135 million domestically.
Lionsgate’s “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” and Sony’s “Peter Rabbit 2” are in a narrow race for third with an estimated $4.5 million each. That will give “Bodyguard” a total of $25 million after two weekends and “Peter Rabbit 2” a $28.5 million total after three weekends. Disney’s “Cruella” completes the Top 5 with an estimated $3.5 million and a $71 million total after five weekends.