Although New York recently started opening up some of its theaters, we’re still a long ways off from the theater industry as a whole going back to business as usual. Even with the vaccine rollout, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact everyday life, which means that more highly-anticipated movies will continue to be delayed. Case in point, Universal Pictures has announced that we’ll have to wait even longer for Fast and Furious 9, a.k.a. F9, and Minions: The Rise of Gru.
Luckily for Fast & Furious fans, F9 hasn’t been pushed back too far on the theatrical calendar. It was previous slated to race into theaters on May 28, but now it will arrive on June 25, so you’ll only have to wait an extra month to reunite with Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto and the gang… provided there aren’t more delays, of course. Minions: The Rise of Gru, on the other hand, has been significantly delayed. Having once been set to drop on July 3, 2020, the second Minions movie was moved to July 2, 2021 in the wake of the pandemic, and now we’ll have to wait yet another year for it since it’s been re-slotted for July 1, 2022.
While today brought the first update concerning Minions: The Rise of Gru in a while, it had been reported last month that Universal was considering delaying F9, perhaps even moving it to the end of 2021 or even into 2022. Ultimately the scheduling change wasn’t that drastic, and according to Variety, this was because Universal was pleased by the positive developments with the vaccine and the possible reopening of Los Angeles theaters soon. But again, it’s entirely possible that this won’t be the last date shift for the next Fast & Furious franchise entry.
However, assuming it stays locked in that release date for good, F9 is now opening the same day as Venom: Let There Be Carnage, making me wonder if Sony Pictures will be pushing its Marvel movie to a less competitive space. As for Minions: The Rise of Gru, it currently has July 1, 2022 itself, although it will be followed by Black Panther 2 the following week. Minions 2’s old date is now solely occupied by Top Gun: Maverick, while F9’s old date will still bring Cruella and Infinite.
It should be noted that Universal struck a deal last year with theater chains like AMC and Cinemark that gave the studio the option to play its movies exclusively in theaters for 17 days before then sending them to PVOD (although movies that make at least $50 million on opening weekend have to play solely in theaters for 31 days, i.e. five full weekends). Still, considering that the Fast & Furious and Despicable Me franchises are box office juggernauts, it makes sense why Universal is taking extra precautions to ensure that F9 and Minions: The Rise of Gru have great theatrical runs.
Alas, for the latter movie, it means we’ll wait to go an extra year to see how the young Gru tried to join the Vicious 6, only to find himself targeted by the supervillain group. As for the former movie, it will follow Dom and his crew clashing with John Cena’s Jakob Toretto and Charlize Theron’s Cipher. Keep checking back with CinemaBlend for more updates on F9 and Minions: The Rise of Gru, including if they’re delayed yet again.