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Diesel and Co. deliver big post-pandemic hit

Greg W. Locke

Whatzup Features Writer

Published June 30, 2021

Well, I’m pretty sure the movie theater industry officially changed this past weekend with the success of F9: The Fast Saga.

For months now, many, including myself, have been suggesting that as we come out of COVID-19 people will look at movie theaters differently. My guess has been that most folks will only use theaters for event films, horror films, and children’s films.

In 2021, as people have been slowly going back to theaters, we’ve been waiting for a movie to sell big numbers. This past weekend, with F9, it finally happened.

Selling Tickets Fast and Furiously

After selling $70 million over its first three days of release, the latest Fast and Furious film tells us what we’ve known: big, loud, dumb, and fun IP is what will bring the masses to the cineplexes. After only three days of release, the film sold over $400 million worldwide, making it the first massive hit since before the pandemic started.

Does this mean the movies are back? I don’t think so.

While I’m sure artsy, indie films will still do well at smaller theaters in big cities, the success of F9 very strongly suggests that 4,000 or so of the 5,000 active screens out there are probably going to be mostly devoted to screening established IP going forward, which is a bummer.

Also at the Box

A Quiet Place Part II continued to calmly fill seats, taking the No. 2 spot at last weekend’s box office with another $6.2 million in sales. This brought the flick’s five-week sales total to $136 million in the U.S. and $248 million worldwide. Not bad, but not exactly Vin Diesel numbers either.

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard took the No. 3 spot at the box over its second weekend of release. This brought in another $4.9 million domestically, upping the flick’s 10-day sales total to $25.9 million in the U.S. and just $31 million worldwide.

Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway took the No. 4 spot at the box with $4.8 million in sales, upping the flick’s domestic gross to just under $29 million. This one has been selling more than expected overseas, already bringing in just over $70 million worldwide.

Disney’s Cruella rounded out last weekend’s Top 5 with another $3.7 million in sales, bringing the film’s five-week sales total to $71 million in the U.S. and $183 million worldwide.

Also of note, In the Heights, the new Lin Manuel-Miranda stage-to-screen adaptation, continued to flop, taking the No. 7 spot at the box, selling just $2.7 million over its third week of release. This brought the film’s 17-day sales total to just $24 million. Ouch.

This was a film that was supposed to not only kill at the box office, but have a large cultural impact, maybe even going on to be nominated at the Oscars.

It’s gonna be weird year, friends.

New This Week

It’s very likely that F9 will continue to roll this week and hold on to the No. 1 spot at the box office. The two films that will try to unseat it are both sequels and have each had strong marketing campaigns. One is a children’s film and the other is a horror film.

First up is The Boss Baby: Family Business, a movie I have no more words for after this sentence. Also out everywhere is the latest Purge film, The Forever Purge. Not bad, but I don’t suspect either of these films will successfully top the appeal of F9 to mainstream audiences.

If the theaters are going to ever feel as alive as they used to, look for F9, A Quiet Place Part II, The Forever Purge, and The Boss Baby: Family Business to fill seats. Who knows, maybe this weekend will feel a little bit like America again. Fingers crossed.

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