AceShowbiz - "F9" races to win. The action film has a great start at the North American box office, opening atop the chart with an estimated $70 million over its first three-day weekend and setting a new record in the pandemic era.
The first three-day tally of the latest entry in the "Fast and Furious" saga surpasses the previous pandemic-era record set by Paramount's "A Quiet Place Part II" with $48.3 million last May. Not only that, but it is also by far the biggest start for a movie at the U.S. box office since 2019's "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker", before COVID-19 shook the theatre industry.
The opening gross of "F9" reps 71% of the total domestic box office business this past weekend, pushing the total domestic box office closer to $100 million. Even with close to 40% of the Canadian box office offline as Ontario remains closed until late July, and the Arclight/Pacific Theatres closed in L.A., the total weekend domestic box office came in at $98.08 million, according to Comscore's early Sunday A.M. estimate. Other industry analysts even have the weekend higher at $99.1 million.
The success of "F9" is closing the gap between the 2021 and 2020 domestic box office: For the period of January 1-June 27, the running domestic B.O. is $1.054 billion, -43% 2020 over the same span of time. This weekend at the B.O., per Comscore, is +114% over last weekend.
"The bold decision we made to move 'F9' back a year was absolutely spot on," says Jim Orr, Universal's president of domestic distribution, of pushing back the release date by a year due to the pandemic. "Our release has ignited the domestic box office and it's setting the market for a great summer."
David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research, also weighs in that the inaugural weekend of "F9" is "an excellent opening in an extraordinary series." He continues, "During the last month, moviegoing has shown flashes of real strength, including this weekend and 'A Quiet Place 2', but it has also been tentative."
Gross adds, " '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." Whereas other current releases have "muddled streaming options," he notes.
While the start of "F9" is still not on par with the previous installment, 2017's "The Fate of the Furious", which opened to $98 million, it has a bigger start than "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw", the 2019 spin-off of the franchise starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Jason Statham.
Back to this week's box office, "A Quiet Place Part II" remains No. 2 with an estimated $6.2 million. Last week's champion "The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard" plunges to No. 3 with approximately $4.8 million in its sophomore outing.
"Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway" is down one place to No. 3 with an estimated $4.8 million, while "Cruella" continues to round out the top five while pulling in approximately $3.7 million.
Top 10 of North America Box Office (Jun. 25-27, 2021):