Universal Pictures is delaying the release of F9, or Fast & Furious 9, by a year amid fears surrounding the coronavirus. The postponement marks the fourth major movie release to be affected by the global pandemic.
The ninth installment in the highly popular Fast & Furious franchise was scheduled to be released in the United States on May 22. The blockbuster release will now roll out April 2021, with a North American opening set for April 2, 2021.
“We feel all the love and the anticipation you have for the next chapter in our saga,” the movie’s official Twitter account said on Thursday. “That’s why it’s especially tough to let you know that we have to move the release date of the film. It’s become clear that it won’t be possible for all our fans around the world to see the film this May.”
— #F9 (@TheFastSaga) March 12, 2020
Fast & Furious movies are popular around the world, but especially in China, which has accounted for nearly half of box office revenue for earlier installments in the franchise. Many cinemas in China have closed in recent weeks due to the coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan and has caused more than 3100 deaths in the country.
The spread of the coronavirus around the world has caused other movies to postpone their release dates.
No Time to Die, the 25th installment in the James Bond saga, delayed its opening by seven months from April to November. Sony’s animated movie Peter Rabbit 2 will now open worldwide in August, instead of a late March and early April.
A Quiet Place 2, the sequel to Paramount’s hit 2018 thriller, has also been postponed. Directeor John Krasinski said Thursday on Instagram that the movie is being delayed but didn’t announce a new release date.