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$70 million box office haul is pandemic record


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Still from Universal’s “F9.”


Universal’s “F9” is paving the way for 2021’s summer box office.

Over its opening weekend, the Fast and Furious film tallied $70 million in box office receipts, the most of any movie released in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The previous record holder was Paramount’s “A Quiet Place Part II” which opened in May with just under $50 million in ticket sales. Other top openers were “Godzilla vs. Kong,” which tallied $32.2 million during its first weekend in April, and “Cruella,” which took in $37.4 million when it was first released in May.

With an additional $37.9 million in ticket sales internationally, “F9” has now garnered more than $405 million since its debut outside the U.S. and Canada in May.

“F9’s opening weekend performance shows that Universal’s decision early on in the pandemic to move the film well into 2021 was the absolute best move,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.

The release of “F9” coincides with a country-wide loosening of Covid-related restrictions and an increase in the number of theaters are open to the public. As of this weekend, 80% of North American theaters were open, according to data from Comscore.

As vaccination rates continue to rise and the number of coronavirus cases decline consumer confidence in returning to movie theaters has spiked. These audiences are also being exposed to fresh movie marketing on the big screen, which could entice them to return for future releases — particularly movies such as “F9,” which is only available in theaters and not being released on streaming until a later date.

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In the next few weeks, Hollywood is releasing blockbuster features like “Black Widow,” “Jungle Cruise,” “Space Jam: A New Legacy” and “Snake Eyes.”

Then later in the summer and into the fall audiences will experience: “Dune,” “Free Guy,” “Eternals,” “The Green Knight,” “The Suicide Squad,” “Venom: Let there be Carnage,” “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “No Time To Die.”

“‘F9’ is the first true summer blockbuster released in over two years and all eyes were on this performance to provide a glimpse into the future of the movie theater,” Dergarabedian said. “And that future now looks very bright and bodes well for the big films now in the pipeline set for release in the coming weeks and months.”

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal is the distributor of “F9.”


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Bellie Brown
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