Box Office: ‘F9’ Races to $7.1M Pandemic-Era Preview Record – Hollywood Reporter

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F9 is headed for a huge $66 million-plus debut at the weekend box office, a pandemic-era record for North America, based on Friday early Friday estimates.

The movie started playing at 7 p.m. (local time)Thursday evening in 3,100 theaters, grossing a stellar $7.1 million. By Friday morning, it expanded into a total of 4,179 locations, the biggest count since cinemas started reopening.

Universal’s all-audience tentpole, followed by Disney and Marvel Studios’ superhero offering Black Widow (July 9), are the most crucial test cases yet for Hollywood’s box office recovery. One major difference: F9 is an exclusive theatrical release before hitting premium VOD in six weeks or so, while Black Widow will be made available simultaneously in cinemas and on Disney+ Premier Access for $30.

Justin Lin, a franchise staple, directs the ninth installment in the Fast & Furious series.

F9 has already sped past records internationally and is nearing $300 million from 23 markets to date. This past weekend, the franchise became the fifth-biggest franchise globally with $6.2 billion, surpassing the X-Men series. F9 will continue its international rollout throughout the summer and has many key markets left in which to open (including the U.K. this weekend).

If tracking is correct, the pic will clear $60 million to $70 million in its domestic debut. Spinoff Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw earned $5.8 million in previews two years ago on its way to an opening weekend of $60 million.

F9 stars returning castmembers Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jordana Brewster and Sung Kang, with Helen Mirren, Kurt Russell and Charlize Theron. The movie also features Cardi B as a new franchise character and a cameo by Reggaeton sensation Ozuna.

Paramount’s horror-thriller A Quiet Place Part II — which likewise is playing only in theaters for an exclusive period — presently holds the record for a pandemic-era opening after grossing $57.1 million over the long Memorial Day weekend, including $47.5 million for the three-day weekend. The film is an unqualified hit, with a current global gross north of $225 million.

Quiet Place II, though, is a modestly budgeted genre pic, not a broad-audience, big-budget offering such as F9.

June 25, 12:40 a.m. Updated with revised estimates.

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