F9 Sets New Pandemic Box Office Benchmark with $162.4M Overseas Debut

Courtesy: Universal Pictures

F9 clocked in the biggest international debut for a Hollywood title during the pandemic, earning $162.4 million from only 8 overseas markets in its first weekend in release—nearly doubling Godzilla vs. Kong‘s debut in thosemarkets. Imax screenings contributed $14 million of that figure, the second-highest May opening for a title in the premium format behind Captain America: Civil War—which had the advantage of opening in 26 additional markets in its 2016 debut.

The ninth instalment of the Fast & Furious franchise opened in China on May 21, becoming the first Hollywood title since 2019’s Avengers: Endgame to claim a $100 million debut in the market. Universal is estimating a $135.6 million bow for F9 in China, which includes a $59.1 million Friday that places the title 5th among the biggest opening days of all time in the market. $12.4 million of the global Imax gross came from China alone, the company’s third-best weekend in the country on record.

China is a crucial market for the franchise, responsible for nearly a third of its cumulative global gross in recent years. F9’s pre-pandemic predecessor, 2017’s The Fate of the Furious, set new box office benchmarks for a Hollywood release in China when it opened to $184.9 million, reaching $392.8 million in its theatrical run. The prior two instalments in the franchise are among the three highest-grossing titles of all time in the market. 

South Korea brought in $9.9 million since being the first major market to open the film on May 19. The result gives F9 the franchise’s biggest opening weekend in the market, unseating its predecessor, The Fate of The Furious, which opened to $8 million en route to a $26.6 million cume in 2017. The film also opened in Hong Kong on May 19, where it earned $2.4 million to record the biggest opening weekend of the pandemic in the market.

F9‘s second batch of premieres took place in Russia and across select markets in the Middle East. The film opened to $8.2 million in Russia, the biggest opening of the pandemic, including an impressive $1.4 million from Wednesday previews—the fourth-largest figure in the category of the market’s history. 

The film also set several records in the Middle East, where it earned $6.2M in its opening frame. F9 set the highest opening weekend ever in Saudi Arabia with $2.6 million, while scoring the highest opening weekend of the pandemic in the United Arab Emirates ($2.7M), and Egypt ($300k).

F9 won’t expand to another major market until it reaches Australia on June 17. A total of 62 markets are set to receive the film through the rest of the summer with North America, Latin America, and the UK scheduled for June 25, and a host of key European markets on track for a July release. 

The Fast & Furious franchise has earned over $6 billion worldwide across its ten entries, including the spin-off Hobbs & Shaw. It ranks sixth among all Hollywood franchises at the global box office.

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