The release date of F9, the latest installment of the Fast and Furious franchise, has been delayed a third time by Universal Pictures. After losing its original May 2020 and rescheduled April 2021 release dates to the COVID-19 pandemic, F9 was supposed to hit theaters on Memorial Day of this year. With the third delay, F9 is now slated to arrive in theaters on June 25, about a month later than expected. The move is indicative of Hollywood's latest attempts to predict when the pandemic may subside enough for fans to get back into theaters.
With COVID vaccinations now projected to be fully rolled out by end of May, late June may actually be a reasonable beached for studios to be staking out, right about now. The question now is whether or not the other big studios - namely Disney and Marvel Studios - will follow suit. Fans will be watching films like Black Widow extremely closely for the next few weeks, as the rippling effect of these delays continues throughout the industry.
Sony Pictures once again looks like the most clairvoyant studio in the bunch, with this latest F9 delay. In January, Sony pushed its twice-delayed big James Bond film No Time To Die from April to October - a move some industry analysts deemed to be overkill. Now it seems like No Time to Die could be set for one of the biggest box office hauls since the pandemic began. The biggest X-factor here is Warner Bros., and its ambitious plan of releasing new 2021 films in theaters and on HBO Max, simultaneously. It's a policy that's in flux; while WB may lose box office money on earlier films like Godzilla vs. Kong in Q1 and Q2 of this year, by June the studio could reverse course back to an all-theatrical model, having exponentially increased streaming subscriptions, and still earning big box office for films like Dune.
F9 will bring back Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese, Ludacris, Jordana Brewster, Charlize Theron, Helen Mirren, and Nathalie Emmanuel while adding John Cena as Dom and Mia's estranged brother Jake - and re-introducing Sung Kang's Han, who isn't as dead as we thought.
After the events of The Fate of the Furious (2017), Dominic Toretto and his family must face Dominic's younger brother Jakob, a deadly assassin, who is working with their old enemy Cipher, and who holds a personal vendetta against Dominic.
F9 will be in theaters on June 25th.