The North American box office just shifted into a whole other gear.
While not at the level of the two previous installments, The Fate of the Furious ($98 million) and Furious 7 ($147.2 million, a franchise high), F9‘s $70 million is a much-needed souped-up turbo boost for the movie theater industry. It’s not only the biggest launch since the pandemic began, but it’s the biggest opening period since 2019’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ($177.3 million).
It’s worth noting that F9 and A Quiet Place 2 are two of the few films to open exclusively in theaters without a simultaneous online streaming option. To their credit, WB / HBO Max and (to a lesser extent) Walt Disney Studios / Disney Plus have faired surprisingly well with dual platform strategies, but nothing close to what Paramount and Universal have done with theatrical exclusivity for popular franchise sequels.
Fast Saga star and producer Vin Diesel praised Universal for committing to a theaters-only release for F9. “You can’t fault another studio for wanting to stream a movie, but the ones like Universal are bold enough to say, ‘Hey, we’re going to support the theatrical release,’” Diesel said. “I take my hat off to them.”
F9 has also been dominating the global box office, where it’s been playing for a few weeks now. Its $335 international tally (the bulk of which is from China) brings F9‘s global total so far to $405 million. By comparison, A Quiet Place 2 stands at $227 million globally, but it’s nowhere near the international sensation that the Fast Saga is. Its strength is domestic, where the horror sequel has logged $136 million to date.
It’s also worth noting that 20% of North American theaters remain closed, and many still enforce limited capacity seating, so these numbers will continue to inch back up towards normal as theater capacity does.
Of the theatrical / streaming hybrids, Disney’s Cruella continues to do strong numbers a month after its release. Standing at $71 million domestic and $183 million globally, the Cruella de Vil origin story is playing well while also being available at home on Disney Plus for a $30 Premier Access fee.
The current hybrid record holder for the pandemic is Godzilla Vs. Kong, having earned $100.2 million domestic and $442.6 globally in ticket sales despite being available on HBO Max at no extra charge.
The next big box office mile marker comes after the July 4th holiday when the MCU finally returns to multiplexes with Black Widow. The Scarlett Johansson superhero action flick opens in theaters and on Disney Plus (for a $30 Premier Access fee) on July 9.