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‘F9’ Races Past Two Huge Box Office Milestones

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at January 1, 1970

F9 is now the biggest-grossing domestic earner of 2021 while it races past $600 million worldwide.

With around $155.9 million in 25 days of domestic release, F9 inched past the current $155.3 million domestic cume of A Quiet Place part II yesterday. That makes it the year’s biggest domestic grosser. Yes, it will likely relinquish that title to Black Widow over the next two weeks, as the MCU flick has around $134.6 million after 11 days after grossing $3 million (-57% from last Monday). The Scarlett Johansson-led Marvel prequel should have around $160 million domestic by Sunday night while F9 should have around $162 million on day 31. But for now Justin Lin’s Fast & Furious 9 is the year’s biggest domestic earner.

The film has, thus far, earned 2.22x its $70 million domestic debut, meaning it is already leggier than Fast & Furious ($155 million from a $71 million launch in 2009). Once it tops $160 million, it’ll be leggier than Fate of the Furious ($226 million/$99 million in 2017). Sure, it may not be a big deal to be leggier than two of the least-liked installments of the franchise, but it shows that the film wasn’t more frontloaded by virtue of opening amid a pandemic and with a shorter (31 days, if Universal so chooses) theatrical window. Folks who would have shown up in weekend four are still doing so.

A Quiet Place part II, which fell 29% last weekend despite being available on Paramount+ and on EST as of last Tuesday, is one of the leggiest “big” Memorial Day openers of all time. It has earned $155.3 million domestic from a $57 million Fri-Mon holiday launch. Its current 2.72x multiplier is right between Men in Black 3 ($179 million/$69 million in 2012) and Aladdin ($353 million/$119 million in 2019). Heck, if you count its $47.5 million Fri-Sun debut as its opening weekend, it’s almost as leggy than A Quiet Place ($188 million/$50 million in 2018). Heck, Disney’s Cruella has earned $83.7 million from a $26.5 million Memorial Day launch, an incredible 3.15x multiplier.

Audiences either don’t know about or don’t care about the concurrent non-theatrical options. Sure, having Black Widow on Disney+ (for an extra $30) concurrently with theatrical exhibition doesn’t help the film’s grosses, but thus far the film is playing only slightly below average for a mid-summer non-event MCU movie. If we argue that Black Widow was always going to play this summer closer to Ant-Man and the Wasp than Spider-Man: Homecoming, then so far its grosses (a likely over/under $390 million cume plus whatever it earns should it get a China release) are on the low end of “normal.” It’s not great, but we’re still in a pandemic.

Nonetheless, A Quiet Place part II is going to end up awfully close to the $188 million domestic cume of A Quiet Place. F9 is going to end up just over/under close the $174 million cume of Hobbs & Shaw. Black Widow is going to end up somewhere between Ant-Man ($180 million in 2015) and Ant-Man and the Wasp ($216 million in 2018). Hell, while disappointing by Conjuring Universe standards, The Devil Made Me Do It has grossed $189 million worldwide and will likely quintuple its $39 million budget. And, yeah, Wrath of Man topped $100 million worldwide, which is huge for a solo/non-franchise Jason Statham actioner.

One thing to remember is that A) we’re not finished with the Coronavirus pandemic and B) we’re nowhere near “back to normal” in the slow theatrical recovery. There’s a reason most of this summer’s biggies are cheap horror movies. It’s not a coincidence that most of the biggies (Venom: Let There Be Carnage, No Time to Die, Dune, Top Gun: Maverick, Matrix 4, Spider-Man: No Way Home, etc.) will open after the summer season, and that Universal didn’t race like mad to get Jurassic World: Dominion finished for last June. This summer was the start of a potentially multi-year theatrical recovery, not the end.

The biggest thread to theaters right now alongside Covid is an industry (namely the media and Wall Street) seemingly desperate to condition consumers to look at even the biggest would-be theatrical blockbusters as streaming-appropriate fare. Does Hollywood really want to explicitly make people who otherwise might have seen A Quiet Place part II in weekend four or seven aware that they can watch it for “free” on Paramount+ after 1.5 months? Disney and Warner Bros. seem to be treating day-and-date as a temporary solution for a temporary problem, unless Wall Street and a streaming-friendly media that treats tech companies as movie studios convinces them otherwise.

F9 is the year’s biggest domestic earner. Hell, presuming a continued 27/73 domestic/overseas split, it’ll be at $600 million worldwide by tonight or at like 12:03 am tomorrow. It’s the first Hollywood movie to pass that milestone since Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ($1.073 billion) in late 2019, and at this rate Black Widow isn’t catching up. Without being too gloomy about the next wave of movies, I don’t see much that can challenge F9 at least until Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (which will get a 45-day window) on Labor Day weekend. Otherwise, it’s Venom 2 and/or No Time to Die in late September.

Last year’s big Labor Day flick was Chris Nolan’s Tenet, whose $363 million cume wasn’t considered nearly big enough on a $200 million budget. A bomb is a bomb, and the deluge of delayed tentpoles in Tenet’s wake (partially due to NYC and LA theaters remaining closed) had the opposite intended affect in terms of jolting theaters back to life. Ironically, Tenet’s “not good enough” global gross will still likely be bigger than other post-pandemic Hollywood flick save for Godzilla Vs. Kong ($460 million), F9 ($600 million and counting) and maybe Black Widow heading into September. Your move, Jungle Cruise and The Suicide Squad


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