F9 Speeding Towards Pandemic-Era Record Opening

The Fast Saga is injecting some fuel into the box office as F9 races towards a new pandemic-era box office opening record. The ninth -- but not last -- Fast and the Furious movie is headed toward a $68 million opening weekend, having brought in $30 million on Friday alone. That not only sets a pandemic-era record, but it's the biggest opening for a movie since Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in December 2019. It's also opening more than 4,000 theaters, the widest opening for a recent movie, and signs that cinemas are starting to reopen their doors after being close during the pandemic lockdown.

The $68-million opening may be a boost for the pandemic box office, but it isn't a franchise-best. It beats the $60-million opening of spinoff Hobbs & Shaw, the most recent previous installment of the franchise, but falls short of The Fate of the Furious's $98-million opening in 2017.

F9 received a mixed reception from critics, earning a Rotten Tomatoes score right on the border of fresh and rotten. ComicBook.com's Jamie Jirak gave the movie a middling review.

"The movie may be seriously lacking when it comes to writing, but no one is going to see F9 for Aaron Sorkin-style dialogue. We're here to watch cars go fast and do the most implausible stunts possible. There was plenty of thrilling action, behind the wheel and otherwise, and that's all that matters. F9 had me fully engaged and entertained for two and a half hours, so I'd call it a win for director Justin Lin," she writes. "If you go into F9 ready to have some laughs, armed with the knowledge that it's not as strong as five through eight, you're going to have fun. Just make sure you stick around for the mid-credits scene, which made me squeal with delight."

F9 is directed by Justin Lin, who co-wrote the screenplay with Daniel Casey. The film stars Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, John Cena, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, Sung Kang, Michael Rooker, Helen Mirren, Kurt Russell, and Charlize Theron.

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In F9, Dom Toretto is living the quiet life off the grid with Letty and his son, but they know that danger always lurks just over the peaceful horizon. This time, that threat forces Dom to confront the sins of his past to save those he loves most. His crew soon comes together to stop a world-shattering plot by the most skilled assassin and high-performance driver they've ever encountered -- Dom's forsaken brother.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments. F9 is now playing in theaters.