'F9' Easily Speeds To The Top Of The Box Office Charts, Smashes Pandemic Records With $70 Million Debut

If there was any lingering concern about movie theaters coming back in a big way as we come out of the coronavirus pandemic, F9 just smashed right through them.

Universal's latest installment of the Fast and Furious saga had no trouble speeding to the top of the box office charts and smashing pandemic records. In fact, the blockbuster action sequel had such an impressive debut (all things considered) that it's the biggest opening weekend since Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in 2019.

Variety has the F9 box office pulling in around $70 million in its opening weekend, which is more than enough to surpass the previous pandemic box office opening set by A Quiet Place Part II at the end of May. That's also more than the opening weekend haul of Fast and Furious Presents Hobbs & Shaw, which only had a $60 million opening weekend. As a point of comparison, The Fate of the Furious landed a $98 million opening weekend back in 2017. So even with the pandemic, F9 still performed very well.

In a fun bit of trivia, F9 did so well in the drive-in box office arena that Forbes reported it boosted the box office performance of Nobody by 3,016% in its 13th weekend on the charts. Playing in just 110 theaters right now, the drive-in boost breaks down to a $4,545 per-theater average. That doesn't mean that everyone who saw F9 stuck around for Nobody, but it's certainly helpful to Universal's bottom dollar for the action flick starring Bob Odenkirk.

The Rest of the Box Office

Filling out the rest of the box office charts, we have A Quiet Place Part II still holding strong with another $6.2 million over the weekend. After sitting in theaters for five weeks, the sci-fi horror sequel sits at a domestic total of $136 million. That's not too far from the $188 million domestic haul that the original movie received, but since the sequel is slated to hit Paramount+ 45 days after its theatrical release date, that could end up hurting the final numbers for the sequel.

Taking third place is Lionsgate's action comedy sequel The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard with $4.8 million in its second weekend. That's a bit of a steep drop, with 57% less than the opening weekend. Since The Hitman's Bodyguard ended up with a $75 million domestic box office take back in 2017, it seems like this one will be a disappointment, so any hopes for another awkwardly titled sequel may be dashed.

In fourth place is yet another sequel with Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway landing an estimated $4.8 million. In fact, the numbers appear to be so close that the Peter Rabbit sequel could swap spots with The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard when the final count comes in.

Finally, Disney rounds out the top 5 with Cruella earning $3.7 million in its fifth weekend. It's hard to say how good or bad that is for Disney since the movie is also available on Disney+ Premier Access for an addition $30 fee. But it probably doesn't matter since Disney is already developing a Cruella sequel.

One film that notably didn't even make it to the top 5 was In the Heights, Warner Bros.' splashy musical movie that was billed as a big summer event. The Jon M. Chu-directed musical lost over 1,000 theaters in its third week, per Exhibitor Relations, falling over 47% with a meager $2.2 million this week. That brings its total to $24 million, which is sadly a disappointing number for a film that was marketed by Warner Bros. as the big return to theaters.

This coming weekend will shake up the box office a little bit with the arrival of The Boss Baby: Family Business and The Forever Purge in theaters. However, the animated sequel will also be available on Peacock, so that's bound to keep the box office take from being as big as it otherwise might have been. Plus, audiences might be enticed to stay home with the release of The Tomorrow War on Amazon Prime and the first chapter of the Fear Street trilogy at Netflix. But the real draw will come when Marvel Studios returns to theaters on July 9 with Black Widow, even if reactions have been mixed so far.