Universal Pictures’ “F9” has been delayed again, this time to June 25, 2021, the studio announced on Thursday. The studio also postponed the animated sequel “Minions: The Rise of Gru” a full year to July 1, 2022.
The “Minions” sequel was also originally meant to open in the summer of 2020 but had been pushed back a year. It now takes the place of another untitled animated Illumination movie on the studio’s schedule.
It’s the latest bit of studio release juggling as Hollywood weighs how quickly and how widely movie theaters can reopen as COVID vaccinations ramp up. Many studios must weigh whether it’s economically wise to release pricey tentpole films like “F9” when many theaters remain shuttered or at limited capacity.
Theaters in New York City are set to open at 25% capacity beginning Friday, and there’s more optimism that the U.S. will have enough vaccines for the adult population by May, but it remains to be seen what the appetite will be for returning to theaters, especially when it comes to the biggest blockbusters.
The “Fast & Furious” franchise has brought in more than $5 billion around the world, so there’s no doubt the studio is keen on getting it the most eyeballs as possible.
Vin Diesel stars in the ninth “Fast & Furious” movie that’s directed by Justin Lin, and he’s joined by a cast that includes returning cast members Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, Sung Kang, Helen Mirren and Charlize Theron alongside newcomer John Cena as the villain.
“Minions: The Rise of Gru” sees Steve Carell reprise his role as supervillain Gru, but this time focusing on him as a young boy in the ’70s teaming with the Minions as he hopes to become a world class supervillain. The voice cast also features Alan Arkin, Taraji P. Henson, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lucy Lawless, Dolph Lundgren, Danny Trejo, Russell Brand, Michelle Yeoh and Julie Andrews.
Next up for Universal is “Nobody,” an action film starring Bob Odenkirk, which will open March 26 after originally being slated for release earlier in 2021.