“Fast 9” has pushed back its theatrical release date by a another month to May 2021. 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 May 2021 and in the U.S. on a date to be advised.
Vin Diesel remains committed to Fast and Furious 9 receiving a theatrical release. Having recently been pushed back to May 2021 due to the ongoing widespread theater shutdown, the ninth installment of the Fast and Furious saga has promised to once again up the insanity of this generation’s premier gonzo action franchise.
However, surging coronavirus cases around the world have further crippled the theater industry, leaving many to wonder if it will even survive until a vaccine is more widely distributed.
F9 has been on the marketing trail for so long now that details about the movie have trickled further into the roots than they were likely supposed to. Early buzz about John Cena’s involvement revealed he will portray Dom’s brother, Jakob. Further down the line, after the film was delayed, it finally came to light that the movie would, in fact, take at the very least Dom and probably at least one muscle car into space.
At the risk of momentum drop, quite a few major studio releases planned for this year have premiered on VOD and streaming, including but not limited to Wonder Woman 1984. F9, however, is hoping to be exclusively in theaters.
In a recent interview with Total Film Magazine, franchise EP and star Vin Diesel reiterated the commitment the Fast Family has to showing their movie in theaters, as a communal experience. Read his quote below:
“I’m so committed to the theatrical experience. Obviously, I’ve dedicated my life to [the cinema]. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that we’re going to be there on May 28 with a movie that everybody is going to want to see together.”
His sentiment echoes that of F9 co-star John Cena, who separately mentioned that the movie will be a reason in itself to go out again. It’s worth mentioning that this team doesn’t necessarily condone potentially dangerous activities during a pandemic, and the release being set for May likely coincides with promises that a vaccine will be widespread by then.
To be more accurate, it’s more likely the studio would rather delay yet again than opt for a simultaneous streaming release. However, it is worth remembering F9 distributor Universal has a deal in place to shorten theatrical windows, allowing them to put movies on VOD a few weeks after opening in theaters. Depending on what happens, F9 could conceivably follow that model.
Fast and Furious has its critics as a bombastic, goofy, machismo-fueled action franchise, but that’s just its appeal. It’s big and silly and fun, and meant to be watched in theaters with big screen and surround sound, likely with friends to enjoy it all with you.
Theaters, as an industry, are in genuine peril right now, and while Fast and Furious 9 may not necessarily be the movie that saves them, it’s hard to blame the team behind it for hoping it might. If nothing else, they just want their movie watched the way it was meant to be seen.
Source: Total Film Magazine