“F9” sets pandemic-era box office record


After many delays over the course of a year and a half, “F9” opened to a mighty $70 million from 4,179 North American venues.

That’s by far the biggest start for a movie at the U.S. box office, not just since the onset of COVID-19, but since 2019’s “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”

“F9” is the latest blockbuster-hopeful to set a new box office benchmark for COVID times. Prior to this weekend, Paramount’s “A Quiet Place Part II” held the pandemic-era opening weekend record with $48.3 million in inaugural ticket sales.

Directed by “Fast” veteran Justin Lin and starring Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and John Cena, “F9” wasn’t expected to reach the opening weekend heights of its franchise predecessors. That’s because although 80% of U.S. venues have reopened, according to Comscore, attendance hasn’t returned to pre-COVID levels and the Canadian box office, which accounts for part of North American revenues, is still almost entirely shut down.