Universal Pictures has settled on a rolling release strategy for F9, the upcoming instalment to its popular Fast and the Furious film franchise. F9 will be timed to hit theatres first in the global markets which have recovered from the COVID-19 slump, with the first release in South Korea on May 19th, followed by Russia and Middle Eastern markets on May 20th and China and Taiwan on May 21st. Its U.S. debut is now set for June 25th, which was recently pushed back by one month from a previously scheduled release date of May 28th, the Memorial Day holiday weekend. While there are clear indications of the recovery of moviegoing in the U.S., Universal deemed that it would be prudent to allow one more month for pandemic jitters to ease in the U.S., while building momentum for the U.S. launch in international markets. Prior films in the series have done exceptionally well in international markets, especially in China where The Fate Of The Furious (2017) is the second highest grossing Hollywood film in history with $368M, followed by Furious 7 (2015) which holds third place with $414M.
Hollywood has taken note of the world-best box office returns from the Chinese market over recent months, led by a $685M gross from China for the locally produced comedy Detective Chinatown 3 which opened in February. Studios are showing flexibility in how they adapt to the uneven recovery in global markets, due to varied success in controlling the coronavirus pandemic. F9 premieres in major European markets are currently scheduled from late June through early July.