F9, the ninth installment in the Fast & Furious series, is currently racing circles around the box office.
The motor racing action film, directed by Justin Lin, premiered in the U.S. on Friday. It grossed $70 million in its domestic debut, making for the best North America opening weekend for a movie since the beginning of the pandemic. According to the Hollywood Reporter, F9 has also earned $335 million overseas due to its May 19 international premiere.
The movie is the first in the franchise to be directed by Lin since 2013’s Fast & Furious 6. It also showcases the return of Sung Kang as fan-favorite Han Lue, who was the subject of a #JusticeForHan campaign to bring him back into the series.
In some ways, the movie’s financial success correlates with the entertainment industry attempting to move past COVID-19. According to Variety, F9 is one of the few movies out right now to exclusively play in theaters, alongside A Quiet Place II (which also set pandemic-era box office records before F9 outpaced it). Other summer tentpoles, such as Marvel’s upcoming Black Widow, are premiering both in theaters and on streaming services.
F9‘s release was also pushed back a year once COVID-19 shut down theaters around the world. The gambit may have paid off, as the film premiered in 4,179 North American movie theaters. That is the widest premiere for a movie in several months, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
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