‘F9’ Set to Release in China in May

Universal Pictures officially announced Friday that “F9,” the latest entry in the “Fast & Furious” saga, will hit China on May 21, more than a month ahead of its June 25 debut in North America.

It had passed Chinese censorship approvals and given permission for theatrical release last week.

Directed by Taiwan-born Justin Lin, the ninth installment of the long-running “Fast & Furious” franchise features Van Diesel, Charlize Theron, Michelle Rodriguez, and other returning stars, along with newcomers including Cardi B. and John Cena.

Five of the previous eight main “Fast & Furious” franchise films have screened in China, as well as the 2019 spinoff “Hobbs & Shaw.” Two of those films have earned more in China than in the U.S. They are 2017’s “The Fate of the Furious,” the most successful film in the country thus far, with sales of $393 million (far more than the film’s U.S. earnings of $226 million), and “Hobbs & Shaw,” which earned $201 million in China — $27 million more than its North American gross.

A look at the franchise’s China box office over time tracks its growing popularity in the Middle Kingdom. 2009’s “Fast & Furious” grossed only about $4 million, 2011’s “Fast Five” made about $38 million, “Fast & Furious 6” earned $66.5 million and “Furious 7” reeled in $147 million.

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