(CNN Business) – “F9,” the ninth installment in the popular “Fast & Furious” franchise, doesn’t hit theaters in the United States until June 25, but it’s already off to a good start at the box office.
The film, starring Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto, the street racer turned master thief and later super spy, grossed $ 162.4 million internationally this weekend. Of that total, $ 135.6 million came from China, the world’s largest film market.
Thus, “F9” marks the largest release of a Hollywood movie during the pandemic so far.
The strong performance of “F9” is good news for a cinema industry looking to rebound after a horrible year. Theater owners have been stunned by the Covid-19 pandemic, disrupting business by closing theaters for months around the world.
As America’s summer movie season, historically the most lucrative period in HollywoodStarting next weekend with Paramount’s “A Quiet Place Part 2” and Disney’s “Cruella,” the industry is looking for signs that audiences are eager to return.
“F9’s” performance so far is a great sign, according to Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at Comscore.
“If the impressive international results are a sign, then ‘F9’ may have the American public lining up to get in on the action next month,” he said.
The brand is incredibly popular abroad, especially in China, and it appears that the pandemic has not dampened that enthusiasm.
The “Fast & Furious” movies have grossed more than $ 6 billion worldwide. The last film in the series, 2017’s “The Fate of the Furious”, made US $ 1,200 million worldwide; 82% of that sum came from foreign markets, according to Comscore.
It remains to be seen if “F9’s” performance internationally this weekend will translate into the United States next month.
However, to as vaccines continue to increase As COVID restrictions are loosened, there is hope that summer movies like “F9” could lead to a resurgence of a beleaguered movie-showing industry.