‘F9’ aims to earn big in China by premiering a month ahead of North America
Published: Apr 18, 2021 08:24 PM
Screenshot from Sina Weibo

Screenshot from Sina Weibo

Universal’s action film Fast and Furious 9 is making a big bet on the world’s largest film market as the film is heading to the Chinese mainland on May 21, more than one month earlier than its North American release on June 25. 

According to Chinese film critics, the release shows that Hollywood is paying significant attention to the Chinese film market and has a lack of confidence in the US market, which is still under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Almost all Hollywood imported blockbusters are staring at the ‘big meat’ that is the Chinese film market since the North American film market is still recovering slowly,” said Xiao Fujiyama, a film critic based in Shanghai, noting that although Godzilla vs. King Kong set a new box office record for the pandemic period in the North American market, it earned three times as much in the Chinese mainland.

“At present, the box office in North America reaches a high of $10 million on Sundays, and is usually below $1 million on other days, so it is unable to support such a large-scale film, and Hollywood is really not very confident,” Shi Wenxue, a film critic based in Beijing, told the Global Times on Sunday.

The release time in the Chinese mainland is the result of various factors. If it is released on June 25 with North America simultaneously, it would only be able to enjoy one weekend to itself as a large number of movies celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China are set to be released in July and August, Xiao added.

The hashtag “Fast and Furious 9 has a release date” has earned 110 million views on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo as of Sunday. Many Chinese netizens expressed their high anticipation for the film. 

Chinese film critics have said the upcoming blockbuster is sure to do well at the mainland box office.

“The return of director Justin Lin, filming in China, thrilling scenes of space racing as well as the series’ overall good standing are highlights for Fast and Furious 9. Meanwhile, the film can earn big in China as it will come after the May Day holiday and so won’t have much competition,” Shi said. 

Currently, the highest grossing film in the franchise is the 2017’s The Fate of the Furious, which earned 2.67 billion yuan ($ 409 million) in China, even higher than the box office in North America which earned $226 million.

Fast and Furious 9 completed shooting in November 2019. It was originally scheduled to be released globally in 2020, but was delayed due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.