Nolte: Experts Predict Disappointing ‘F9’ Opening

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Universal Pictures

The box office predictions are out for this weekend’s F9, the ninth chapter of Universal’s 20-year-old Fast & Furious franchise.

Arriving in more than 4,000 theaters Friday (with some Thursday night sneak previews), the so-called box office experts are hovering their predictions somewhere between $50 and $70 million, which feels to me like deliberate low-balling.

Let me tell you where I’m at when it comes to the state of the box office….

Watch below: 

The pandemic is no longer an excuse for under-performance. How can anyone claim the Wuhan Flu is still a problem when A Quiet Place Part II is doing as well as anyone could have expected pre-pandemic?

After 26 days in release, Quiet Place 2 sits at $126.2 million domestic. After 26 days, the 2018 original had cleared $150.5 million. In other words, the sequel is running at about 85 percent. That’s pretty gosh-darned normal for a sequel, which tells me that if the movie studios drop product into theaters people actually want to see, people will come and see it.

Let me put it this way… If A Quiet Place Part II can do it, what’s stopping the others?

Nothing.

There are no longer any excuses to justify a box office crash, except for the product itself. This brings us back to F9

After being humiliated by the massive flop that is the woketardathon In the Heights, the so-called experts are, in my opinion, low-balling F9 big time.

A $50 to $70 million opening for a new Fast & Furious movie? Are you kidding me? What a joke.

If F9 opens to $50 million, that will be lower than 2 Fast 2 Furious in 2003. In fact, it will be the third-lowest of the entire franchise.

If F9 opens to $70 million, it will be (not counting the Hobbs & Shaw spin-off) the fourth lowest, lower even than 2009’s Fast & Furious.

Here are the numbers…

  • The Fast and the Furious (2001): $40 million
  • 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003): $50.5 million
  • Tokyo Drift (2006): $ 24 million
  • Fast & Furious (2009): $71 million
  • Fast Five (2011) $86 million
  • Fast & Furious 6 (2013): $97.4 million)
  • Furious 7 (2015): $148 million
  • The Fate of the Furious (2017): $99 million
  • Hobbs & Shaw (2019): $60 million

The idea the PANDEMIC will nose-dive this franchise into an opening weekend unseen in over a decade is absurd, and A Quiet Place 2 proves that.

If F9 under-performs, it will be due to co-star John Cena publicly and shamelessly licking the boots of the Communist Chinese mixed with franchise fatigue. Period.

As far as franchise fatigue, even someone who loves this series as much as I do can admit 2017’s F8 felt a little tired … and desperate. I am more than happy to suspend disbelief when it comes to this stuff, but watching a bunch of cars race over the ice to stop a nuclear sub… Yeah, no. And 2019’s Hobbs & Shaw was a major disappointment.

The fact this franchise has survived and thrived or as long as it has, especially on such a thin premise, is a modern miracle and a testament to the charisma of its stars, most especially Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez. What’s kept it afloat is how it effortlessly morphs into different genres: from street racing to heist picture to men-on-a-mission to save the world…

F8, however, felt like it hit a wall, like what we needed for F9 was a post-Moonraker-style retooling with a grounded For Your Eyes Only-style return to home base. But from what I’ve read, F9 is even more over the top than F8, which doesn’t mean it won’t work, but if it doesn’t, don’t blame the China flu.

Blame fatigue and that idiot Cena who, for the first time in 20 years, politicized a franchise that has gone out of its way to avoid politics.

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.

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