F9 is now in its final domestic box office sprint, earning $7.1million in 4,179 North American theatres. This is the largest screen count since the pandemic. It’s almost certain that Justin Lin’s Fast & Furious sequel, the ninth and fifth in the series, will be the biggest domestic debut. But what size? Projections suggest an opening of over/under $67million, which would be comparable to Hobbs & Shaw ($59 million in 2019) and still qualify as a modest win under normal circumstances. It looks to be worth around $67 million if the film is identical to Fate of the Furious regarding “Thursdays-to-weekend multipliers.”
Furious7made a spectacular $147 million domestic debut in 2015. It launched on a Thursday for $15.6 million and earned 9.3% of its Fri.-Sun launch via previews. The Furious fate raked in $10.4 million via Thursday previews in 2017, accounting for 9.5% of its $98.8million Fri-Sun debut. If F9, Vin Diesel vs. John Cena (as Dom’s evil brother), plays exactly as the Fast & Furious films, then we can expect a Fri-Sun debut of over/under $67 million. In optimism, Hobbs & Shaw captured $5.8million on Thursday during a $59million launch in 2019. F9 would have a debut of $72 million if it had a 9.8% figure.
The thing is that F9 would not have opened if it had been released over Memorial Day weekend 2020 in a traditional summer movie schedule. Its opening was unlikely to have been as successful as Fast & Furious 6 (which cost $97 million Fri/$117million Fri-Mon in 2013) or Fate of the Furious’s April 2017 debut at $99 million Fri/Sun. Due to the increased interest in Furious 7’s record-breaking $353 million domestic gross, partly due to the sudden death of Paul Walker, Fate of the Furious saw $226 million. Imagine Skyfall soaring at $304 million domestic after a debut of $90 million in 2012, and then Spectre achieving $200 million domestically from a launch of $70 million in 2015.
The fate of the Furious was not everyone’s favorite Fast & Furious installment. Nevertheless, it was a popular film with a global cume of $1.236 million and was well-received. Sung Kang’s return in this installment revealed in the first preview in January 2020 isn’t as important as it seems to be. Since 2017, I’ve wondered loudly if Fast & Furious9 might have been the first movie that surpassed $1 billion worldwide without exceeding $200 million domestically. Although the pandemic changed everything, a launch of F9 for $65-$75million may still be considered “business as usual,” even if it was not subject to pandemic-specific variables.
While I think it’s the Spectre franchise (fun fact: Spectre still topped $881million global), domestic criticism is mixed-positive (62% fresh, 5.6/10 Rotten Tomatoes), and international buzz seems to be stronger than the “Stop this retconning nonsense!” word of mouth from China. For similar reasons, they gave Detective Chinatown3 a thumbs-down earlier this year. The total has surpassed $300 million globally, with $216 million in China. It is a win, especially during a pandemic.