Fans revved up the movie industry over the weekend, speeding to theaters to see “F9,” which produced huge numbers and should soon become the world’s No. 1 release since the start of the global pandemic.
The box office figures cruised past $70 million, domestic, this past weekend while rolling by “A Quite Place Part II,” which had held the opening-weekend mark at $48.3 million.
As its title indicates, this film is the ninth in the Fast and Furious franchise’s 20-year run.
Who better to crow about the most recent renewal?
Vin Diesel, the ubiquitous star, made a declaration.
“I think what feels best is just the idea that people are returning to the theatrical experience. It feels good to say, ‘Cinema is back!’” said Diesel, 53, appearing with co-star Charlize Theron in support of Theron’s Africa outreach project.
Diesel also touted the decision by “F9” studio Universal to forgo the streaming temptation – common during the pandemic recovery — and release the film directly to theaters.
“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.’ I take my hat off to them,” Diesel said.
In a report from Variety, David A. Gross of movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research called the success “an excellent opening in an extraordinary series,” adding “‘F9’ and ‘A Quiet Place 2’ are the cleanest reads of what the business can do now — both strong series and pure theatrical releases/no streaming.”
“Cruella,” “Raya and the Last Dragon,” “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” and “Godzilla vs. Kong” went the route of releasing also on streaming platforms.