“Fast 9” has pushed back its theatrical release date by a year.
Universal Studios, the company behind the “Fast & Furious” franchise, made the decision because of the impact that the fast-moving coronavirus is having on the global economy and the distribution landscape. Theaters remain closed in Italy, South Korea and China, where the virus has hit hardest. There’s also a mounting sense that some theaters will close in the U.S. as the outbreak continues to spread. “Fast 9” will now open globally in April 2021 and in the U.S. on April 2.
Vin Diesel made the announcement on social media. “We feel all the love and the anticipation you have for the next chapter in our saga,” he wrote. “That’s why it’s especially tough to let you know that we have to move the release date of the film. It’s become clear that it won’t be possible for all of our fans around the world to see the film this May.”
“While we know there is disappointment in having to wait a little while longer, this move is made with the safety of everyone as our foremost consideration,” Diesel added.
Several high-profile releases have moved their release date as the rate of infection has increased. “A Quiet Place Part II” has opted not to premiere in March and the James Bond adventure “No Time to Die” moved from April to November. These moves come at a cost. There’s often tens of millions of dollars in lost marketing revenue.
The “Fast & Furious” movies carry budgets of over $200 million and with their fast cars and crazy stunts, are designed to play well with international audiences. Roughly 75% of the gross of the three previous films came from overseas. Universal believed that it could not make a profit with so many theaters closed.
“Fast 9” was scheduled to be released in the United States on May 22, 2020. The move is a blow to movie theaters. “Fast & Furious” sequels tend to be among the year’s highest-grossing movies and the release date shift leaves Memorial Day weekend without one of its star attractions.
Article originally published on Variety, written by Brent Lang