As Hollywood struggles to respond to the rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic, Universal Pictures announced Thursday that it is pushing back the release of the latest installment in the “Fast and the Furious” franchise, “F9,” nearly a year, from May 22 to April 2, 2021.
The shift of one of the studio’s most important franchises — and key summer tentpoles — follows Universal’s decision, also announced Thursday, to postpone the release of its horror sequel “A Quiet Place Part II,” which had been slated to open March 18.
More broadly, the move starkly displays the industry’s growing concern over the potential of coronavirus fears to seriously impact the crucial summer box office season. Last week, MGM, Universal and the producers of the latest James Bond film, “No Time to Die,” announced that that film is pushed back from April to November.
In a tweet to fans, the makers of “F9" wrote, in part, “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. Moving will allow our global family to experience our new chapter together. We’ll see you next spring.”
Including last year’s spinoff “Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw,” the high-octane franchise has taken in nearly $6 billion at the box office worldwide since the first film was released in 2001. The most recent installment in the series’ main saga, “The Fate of the Furious,” took in $1.2 billion globally.