We informed you prior this was a possibility and now Universal’s F9 is also shifting its May 22 global day and date release as the world becomes embattled by the coronavirus outbreak. F9 will now open on Easter weekend April 2, 2021. Universal had already reserved that date for Fast & Furious 10. The news was announced on F9 social media handles this morning.
The news comes in the wake of Paramount postponing its global launch of A Quiet Place Part II today less than a week before it was to open abroad, and a week out from domestic’s Friday March 20 date (previews would have literally began next Thursday). While Paramount has also pushed the limited release of Blue Story from March 20 and the comedy The Lovebirds from April 3, the studio’s Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run is the last wide entry standing on Memorial Day weekend, May 22-25, where it was to face off against F9.
The combined amount of global P&A that has been spent on all of these movies is extreme, and this was a difficult decision for Universal to make, but one that is the best economically for F9 in the long run given how China is a linchpin market to the franchise. The long term value of these huge assets versus the short-term spend is what is prized the most among the majors. The previous chapter Fate of the Furious repped the biggest global opening in Universal’s history with $541.9M with China delivering close to $185M of that number. The film went on to make $1.236 billion worldwide.
Again, this is very hard for Uni as F9 amassed a huge wattage coming out of Super Bowl, where Uni dropped the pic’s first trailer (4-min) over the course of the the Big Game weekend, further pumped by a Miami concert with the pic’s stars and soundtrack performers, amounting to well over 439M views in the first six-days. According to social media analyst RelishMix, the combination of the 30-second Super Bowl spot plus the early Friday full trailer churned out 110.9M views in the 24 hours following the Big Game across Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, crushing the trailer views of other event pics that promoted during Super Bowl including Black Widow (18.7M), Mulan (12.4M), No Time to Die (10.1M) and more. Great expenses will be incurred by all studios that decided to push their pics as they’ll have to re-buy ad spot inventory again down the road.
For the last three Fast films, international grosses have accounted for 79% of worldwide box office, and no other billion-dollar franchise is as Asia-reliant. The APAC (Asia Pacific) region, where moviegoing has been most heavily impacted by COVID-19, accounted for 56% of international box office over the last three Fast & Furious films (Furious 7, The Fate of the Furious, Hobbs & Shaw).
The entire Fast & Furious franchise including spinoff Hobbs & Shaw through nine movies counts $5.9 billion at the WW box office.