F9 sees highest grossing opening weekend of the post-pandemic era in US

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F9, the latest instalment in the Fast And Furious saga, has had the highest grossing opening weekend of the post-pandemic era so far at the US box office.

Starring Vin Diesel and John Cena, the film grossed $70m (£50.2m) at the US box office after opening last Friday – more than A Quiet Place II which previously held the record at $48.3m (£34.7m).

The franchise's ninth film has also had the highest grossing weekend since 2019's Star Wars outing, The Rise Of Skywalker – underlining the film's general success, and the eagerness of audiences to get back into the cinema.

(from left) Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) in F9, co-written and directed by Justin Lin. Pic: AP

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Diesel (left) has been in the franchise for 20 years. Pic: AP

During the pandemic, a number of studios, including Disney and Warner Bros, have reverted to hybrid releases of movies, placing them on streaming services as well as giving them a cinematic launch – leading to some films struggling at the box office.

Jim Orr, Universal's president of domestic distribution said: "The bold decision we made to move 'F9' back a year was absolutely spot on.

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"Our release has ignited the domestic box office and it's setting the market for a great summer."

F9 marks 20 years since the first Fast And Furious movie was released, spawning a franchise of car chases, stunts and espionage.

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The film's star Vin Diesel told Sky News the Fast & Furious franchise is not just for those who fell in love with the first films but is now reaching a new generation.

"It's remarkable, it's like it's generational – it's truly multi-generational," he says. "People that came to see this movie 20 years ago are now bringing their families to see the movie – that's such a great feeling.

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"I'm so blessed and honoured to be a part of a franchise that brings families together and that represents this multi-generational fanbase – it's awesome."

And he says he still loves to play lead Dom Toretto, two decades in.

"I am lucky to have a studio that's willing to evolve the character," he says.

"Who would've thought we'd be looking at this outlaw 20 years ago and now watching him put his kid to sleep – it's a testament to the willingness for the studio to truly evolve these characters while allowing us to have fun with the spectacle, to warrant it being a true crowd-pleaser."

F9 is out in cinemas across the UK, now.

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