Universal’s “Fast & Furious 9” has passed Chinese censorship to receive official approval for release, the company announced on Wednesday. A specific China release date has not been set yet.
“See you on the big screen!” Universal Pictures said on its official Weibo social media account, alongside a Chinese version of the poster.
“F9” debuts the U.S. on June 25. Should it release around that time in China, however, it will collide with the country’s 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party on July 1. The key political event will be feted with the premiere of high-profile local patriotic blockbusters that Beijing will work to ensure score top box office figures. Authorities, likely wary of allowing American films the chance to beat out local titles lauding the Communist Party on such an important occasion, can be expected to clear the playing field.
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.
Taiwan-born helmer Justin Lin will return to direct “F9,” his first franchise film since 2013’s “Fast & Furious 6.” The latest installment will once again star Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, John Cena and Sung Kang, among others.
Many Chinese social media users expressed excitement at the upcoming release, while some said they were a bit tired of the franchise, despite its box office pull.