It doesn’t matter how popular or profitable a franchise is — movie delays in 2020 are unavoidable. Over the past few months, fans looked on in helpless horror as some of their most-anticipated releases drifted further and further away on the calendar.
At this point, some have even suffered from multiple delays, extending the wait time by over a full year. The anticipated ninth instalment in the long-running Fast & Furious series, the Dwayne Johnson-free FF9, is one such case.
Before COVID-19 entered our lives uninvited, 2020 was shaping up to be a major year at the cinema. FF9 sat among the headliners, promising to give viewers their first look at Dom Toretto’s (Vin Diesel) long lost brother, Jakob, as played by Peacemaker himself, John Cena.
Originally, audiences would’ve turned out for this sibling showdown of the ages in April of 2020, but as fate would have it, it simply wasn’t safe enough to keep theatres open. In response, Universal moved it to April 2, 2021, thinking that a one-year wait would suffice. As confirmed by the studio, the new release date wasn’t a safe bet either, prompting yet another amendment to F9’s big-screen debut.
Fast & Furious 9 is revving up for a May 2021 release
Fortunately, franchise die-hards only have to wait a little bit longer than expected to get their fix. As revealed by The Hollywood Reporter, Universal is moving F9 from its April 2, 2021 slot to May 28, 2021, meaning its opening weekend will cover the long Memorial Day weekend in the United States. While the main reason for this change is certainly related to public health and ensuring theatres have time to reopen, another factor to consider is the date alteration for another Universal production.
Naturally, it’s in every studio’s best interest to spread tentpole releases out so as not to cannibalize their own box office. Much like the recent reshuffling over at Warner Bros. involving Tenet, Wonder Woman 1984, and Dune, this is a situation Universal would want to avoid when it comes to F9 and the long-awaited James Bond adventure, No Time to Die. The spy thriller recently received a fresh delay of its own, putting its arrival on April 2, 2021, meaning director Justin Lin’s Fast & Furious instalment needed to get out of the way.
As of this writing, Fast & Furious 9 is still preparing to release in May of 2021, but, as exemplified by the past few hectic months, that could always be subject to change.