Vin Diesel pledged to save movie theaters back in April, starring in a melodramatic F9 promotional video about the power of the movies and how there’s nothing like sitting in a theater with other people as the lights go down and some ridiculous Fast And Furious bullshit starts to happen, eventually landing on the idea that “nobody does a comeback like the movies.” It was a little much, to be honest, but also that’s Vin Diesel’s whole vibe, and you know what? The old bastard pulled it off. Vin Diesel saved the movies.
It might be a little premature to say that, certainly, but F9 did open to a stunning $70 million this weekend (via Variety), which is higher than any other movie has gotten since the pandemic shut down the movie theaters last year (even if you count A Quiet Place Part II’s long weekend). Oh wait, sorry, that’s not right. It’s actually higher than any other movie last year period—as in, even before the pandemic shut down the theaters. It opened higher than Sonic The Hedgehog. It opened higher than Bad Boys For Life. Hell, you have to go back to Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker to find a movie that opened higher than F9, and that movie stinks. Similarly, F9 opened higher than Hobbs & Shaw did in 2019, which Diesel is probably going to be especially happy about (seeing as how that movie was about a candy ass).
Speaking with Variety at an event for Charlize Theron’s Africa Outreach Project, Diesel said that the best part of F9's huge opening is that “people are returning to the theatrical experience.” He said that “you can’t fault another studio for wanting to stream a movie,” (he’s talking about Warner Bros., probably, since Groot obviously loves working with Disney), he respects that “the ones like Universal are bold enough” to support movie theaters above all else. Theron, who was also there, naturally, added that F9 is “a perfect movie to help us come back.” We don’t know where F9 is ultimately going to land, money-wise, but it will be interesting to see if the saga’s new status as the savior of the movies will convince Universal to reconsider that whole “two more movies and then that’s it” plan.