The release of the upcoming F9 has been officially delayed just under one year, the movie announced on social media on Thursday, March 12.
"To our family of Fast fans everywhere, We feel all the love and the anticipation you have for the next chapter in our saga," the statement read. "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 of our fans around the world to see the film this May."
"We are moving the global release date to April 2021, with North America opening on April 2. While we know there is disappointment in having to wait a little while longer, this move is made with the safety of everyone as our foremost consideration," the message continued. "Moving will allow our global family to experience our new chapter together. We'll see you next spring. Much love, Your Fast Family."
The next installment in the Fast & Furious film franchise was scheduled for release on May 22. Franchise regulars Vin Diesel, Ludacris, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson and Nathalie Emmanuel are all set to reprise their roles while Charlize Theron will return as Cipher and Helen Mirren will again play Magdalene Shaw. John Cena will make his Fast debut in the movie as Diesel's character's estranged brother and other newcomers include Michael Rooker, Vinnie Bennett, Finn Cole, Sam Lerner and Anna Sawai. The movie was directed by Justin Lin (Fast & Furious 6).
F9 is the latest film to have its release date pushed back due to the coronavirus. The James Bond sequel No Time to Die was moved from an April release to November and A Quiet Place Part II will move from March 18 to a later date.
Movie theaters are currently close in China, Italy and South Korea, three countries that have seen the biggest impact from the virus. The Fast franchise's overseas audience is massive, and there is also the possibility that theaters in the United States will begin to close as the virus continues to spread.
All of the Fast films have had incredibly large budgets including money spent on advertising, much of which will now be lost. Universal likely did not want to risk smaller audiences in its overseas markets, which made up a large portion of its haul for Fate of the Furious, which was the biggest global opening in Universal's history with $541.9 million, nearly $185 million of which was from China.
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures