Stop your engines: Universal has pushed back the release date for Fast & Furious 9 (or F9) nearly a full year to April 2021 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The latest entry in The Fast Saga was originally set to drive into theaters on May 22nd, and tickets have been on sale for weeks. Now, however, the action film will debut in North America on April 2nd, 2021.
“It’s become clear that it won’t be possible for all our fans around the world to see the film this May,” reads a statement posted on the franchise’s social media accounts. “While we know there is disappointment in having to wait a little while longer, this move is made with the safety of everyone as our foremost consideration.” Find the full message below.
The move to delay the highly anticipated sequel makes unfortunate sense, even from beyond a health standpoint. Theaters are largely closed in countries heavily impacted by the coronavirus outbreak like Italy, South Korea, and China, and there’s growing concern the US could be next. According to Variety, about 75% of the worldwide gross from the last three Fast movies came from overseas; with so many cinemas shut down, the path to profit on F9’s $200 million budget was bleak. In fact, some estimate the global film industry could lose up to $5 billion due to the coronavirus.
The follow-up to 2017’s The Fate of the Furious, F9 is actually the 10th entry in The Fast Saga if you count last summer’s Hobbs & Shaw. While Dwayne Johnson left the main storyline to do that spinoff, Vin Diesel once again returns in F9 to lead a familiar team of Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, and — somehow, someway — Sung Kang (Han, who supposedly died a few movies ago).
Charlize Theron is also back as the villainous Cipher, who this time has roped in the brother of Diesel’s Dominic Toretto, Jacob (John Cena). Helen Mirren also makes her main Fast debut (she cameoed in Fate and starred in Hobbs & Shaw), while Michale Rooker, Cardi B, and Ozuna also have parts in the film. Justin Lin returns to direct for the first time since Fast & Furious 6, while Daniel Casey penned the script, making F9 the first film since 2003’s 2 Fast 2 Furious to not be written by Chris Morgan.
Fast & Furious 9 is but the latest Hollywood production to feel the affects of the current pandemic. While getting ready to film Elvis in Australia, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson tested positive for the virus and have been quarantined in a Gold Coast hospital. The latest James Bond film, No Time to Die, was also delayed, as was the horror sequel A Quiet Place Part II. Filming of Mission Impossible 7 had to be halted in Italy because of how badly the country has been impacted.
That’s all on top of the numerous canceled music festivals and postponed tours, as well as TV shows filming without studio audiences. Find an up-to-date list of all the cultural events affected by the coronavirus here.
— #F9 (@TheFastSaga) March 12, 2020