Fast and Furiously cautious.
That’s one way to describe the latest delay for F9, the ninth film in the Fast & Furious franchise. Slated to open on May 28, it’s been bumped a month. Now, the Universal action tentpole will rev into theaters on June 26, 2021.
Originally set to open in April of 2020, this is the third move for the Vin Diesel vehicle. It makes sense, too, despite recent positive trends.
Although new COVID cases continue to decline and vaccinations continue to ramp up — driven by the pledge from President Biden that “every adult American” will have the opportunity for a vaccine by the end of May — Universal is making the prudent determination that audiences on a mass scale (which is what a blockbuster like F9 needs) will still require more time to reacclimate to “normal,” whatever that even ends up looking like this summer.
An immediate ripple effect of that decision: Universal announced that Minions: The Rise of Gru — which was on tap for July 2 this summer — will be delayed an entire year. Now set to open on July 1, 2022, the fifth installment of the Despicable Me universe won’t hit screens until two years after its original release date.
As of now, only one major summer franchise tentpole is left scheduled for the month of May: Black Widow.
Don’t be shocked if its May 7 date falls through, though, especially with Marvel Studios honcho Kevin Feige stating publicly that he’s opposed to any form of hybrid release (i.e. same day launch in theaters and on Disney Plus) for Marvel’s theatrical properties.
Disney may only see them as “content” but Feige doesn’t want to diminish their status as legitimate film events.