It looks like you can’t drive a car through a building out the other side into another building, flip it over onto a submarine, launch it off another car, then jump out the window into another car while kissing your once dead girlfriend on the lips, all while dragging a giant safe behind you fast enough to outrun COVID-19. Fast and Furious 9 (known as F9) has been delayed by Universal once again. The film will now release on June 25 instead of May 28, moving it away from a Memorial Day weekend opening.
Considering the fact that we seem to be reaching the end of the pandemic with vaccines rolling out at a steadier clip, the F9 delay might not make much sense. However, even with theaters reopening and human interaction possible again, a return to audiences flocking to opening nights is probably a long way off, and Universal needs that. The studio doesn’t have a streaming platform to release its movies on and make money that way, though it did reach an agreement to enable it to release films on demand 17 days after theatrical releases as long as they don’t generate $50 million.
Reportedly, Universal was mulling multiple release dates, including a push into 2022, but it feels bullish enough about the US market reopening and China’s already stabilizing film markets that a small delay was decided upon. The studio did make a bigger delay with Minions: The Rise of Gru, delaying its release date a full year to July 1, 2022, possibly fearing a heavily overcrowded 2021 summer as studios start dumping a year’s worth of movies out.
This obviously isn’t the first delay for F9, which will now have been pushed more than a full year from its original release date of May 22, 2020. The film was one of the first movies to delay long-term after the virus hit, pushing all the way into 2021. At the time it seemed like an odd movie, but clearly Universal made the right decision as it didn’t get caught up in the struggles that other blockbusters have, with a plethora of release dates and marketing pushes.