The Weekend Jolt

[UPSOUND, FILM]: “Crank it all the way up!”

Hollywood is doing just that – going high octane for the first major action film this year to be released exclusively in theaters.

It’s “F9” – the ninth installment of the popular “Fast & Furious” franchise – which has evolved from a story of illegal street racing to that of a tight-knit group caught up in heists and espionage.

[UPSOUND, FILM]: “But we always come back together…”

But before all the explosions and white-knuckled car chases kick in, "F9" opens with Dom and Letty, played by longtime stars Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez, living a quiet life with a young son.

It’s a family theme that a visibly emotional Diesel, and costar Ludacris, think audiences are longing for and will find again as they sit shoulder to shoulder in a dark theater.

[DIESEL]: “The people that haven't seen their families for a year are going to celebrate their reuniting while watching 'Fast' and that's a great feeling."

[LUDACRIS]: "We specifically made this movie for people and moviegoers around the world to come back to the theater at a time when streaming is at an all-time high.”

But can “F9” rev up a box office business that has been idle since the start of the health crisis? Ticket sales plummeted 81% in 2020 from a year earlier to $2.1 billion. Sales so far for 2021 are about $880 million.

About 20% of U.S. theaters remain closed, and some still limit capacity. And it’s still unclear how many people feel safe returning to public indoor spaces.

Universal Pictures is banking on brand recognition to patch things up –

[UPSOUND, FILM]: “Really? Duct tape? You acting like we’re on our way to Home Depot…”

the "Fast & Furious" franchise having pulled in more than $5 billion worldwide since the first film in 2001.

Big stars also help – including Charlize Theron, John Cena… even Helen Mirren gets behind the wheel.

[UPSOUND, FILM]: "Brake for me, would you darling?"

But Diesel thinks it’s ultimately the film’s heart that will win over audiences.

“And I think that you, more than anything, are going to enjoy yourself maybe for the first time in a year!"

The big test comes this weekend, as “F9” opens in theaters Thursday night.

Source :

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