F9 Speeds To $7.1M Thursday Previews, Best To Date During Pandemic

Universal’s F9 is off to a great start as expected, having grossed $7.1 million from 3,100 theaters that began showtimes at 7 p.m. Thursday. The pic expands to 4,179 theaters today, the widest ever for a film being released during the pandemic.

In more great news, F9 did more business last night than Hobbs & Shaw did in its Thursday previews, which were $5.8M at 3,400 theaters, and that’s when 100% of exhibition was open including Canada. Parts of Canada remain capped, with big provinces like Ontario closed until late July.

The three-day conservative estimates for F9 are hovering around $60M+ now, but no one will be shocked if it’s north of $70M; Hobbs & Shaw posted a $23.6M Friday on its way to a $60M opening weekend. While the Justin Lin-directed and co-scripted F9 has the best presales Fandango has seen to date, we don’t know how front-loaded business will be.

F9 is looked at to be a savior in a summer box office that’s been in a funk as the industry tries to come out of the pandemic. In the wake of A Quiet Place Part II, which repped a record opening since mid-March 2020 with $57.1M over four days during the Memorial Day holiday frame, there’s still capacity restrictions across the U.S., except for Los Angeles and New York City, and under 80% of all 5,800 U.S. and Canadian theaters open. However, sources blame lackluster product on the marquee in recent weeks (i.e., In the Heights, Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, Peter Rabbit 2), not people’s attitudes about going to the movies after living under lockdown. If you’re questioning people’s attitudes about going out, then check out the crowds at MLB games; there was hardly an open seat available in the Dodgers-Cubs game last night at Dodger Stadium.

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2015’s Furious 7 holds multiple records for Uni’s F&F series including best domestic Thursday previews of $15.8M, an opening weekend of $147.1M for the series’ best ever $355.5M cume. No one is expecting that kind of business for F9 given the franchise’s age, plus Furious 7 served as the cinematic memorial for its late star Paul Walker.

F9 Thursday previews also bested 2011’s Fast Five ($3.7M) and 2009’s Fast and Furious ($1.8M) but came in behind the 2017 installment Fate of the Furious ($10.4M) and 2013’s Fast and Furious 6 ($7.5M), Lin’s previous turn as director of the series.

We’ll have updates for you as they come.

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