LOS ANGELES, March 4 (Reuters) – Universal Pictures has delayed the worldwide debut of “Fast & Furious” “F9” aka “Fast & Furious 9” by a month until June 25, the company said Thursday. by Hollywood studios trying to determine when moviegoers will return to the movies in large numbers.
The move indicated that Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp, is confident of a summer rebound as coronavirus vaccines become more widely available in the United States and Canada, which together form the world’s largest film market. Theaters in New York, the second-largest film region in the United States, are scheduled to reopen on Friday.
Theater operators, including AMC Entertainment, Cineworld Plc and Cinemark Holdings Inc, hope to have blockbuster films to show this summer, typically their highest-grossing season.
Movie studios don’t want to release their most expensive action movies until they can draw big crowds to recoup production and marketing costs.
The next big-budget action flick on the Hollywood calendar, Walt Disney Co’s Marvel movie “Black Widow,” is set to hit theaters on May 7th.
The “Fast & Furious” franchise about a group of street racers has generated more than $ 5 billion in ticket sales worldwide since the first film was released in 2001.
“F9,” which stars Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez, was originally slated for release in April 2019, but has been postponed several times.
Other films currently slated for the summer include “Top Gun: Maverick” starring Tom Cruise and Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”, both in July.
After moving “F9” in late June, Universal has postponed the release of the animated film “Minions: The Rise of Gru” from early July 2021 to July 2022.
(Report by Lisa Richwine edited by Frances Kerry and Bill Berkrot)
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