‘F9’ Keeps The Pedal To The Metal Over Fourth of July Weekend With $24 Million, Beating Out A Trio Of New Challengers
F9: The Fast Saga kept the pedal to the metal over the Fourth of July weekend and kept its pole position at the North American box office, outracing a trio of newcomers that included a sequel to The Boss Baby, the latest installment in the Purge franchise, and a buzzy indie based on an epic Twitter thread. Thanks to its continued box-office success overseas, F9 became the first Hollywood film to roar past the global $500 million mark since the pre-pandemic blockbuster Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

A week after it came roaring off the starting line with a whiplash-inducing $70 million debut, the tenth chapter in Universal’s muscle-car cycle, which stars Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez, racked up another $24 million over the three-day holiday frame (it’s estimated to pull in $32.7 million by the end of Monday). Originally slated to hit multiplexes over the 2020 Memorial Day weekend, F9 was one of the most high-profile tentpoles to be put on hold when the COVID-19 pandemic brought the theatrical movie business to a screeching halt more than a year ago. Now it seems as if it may be that same industry’s savior.

Even so, the PG-13-rated speed-demon sequel dropped of a hefty -65.7% from the previous frame, which may sound like a fairly steep nosedive but is actually in line with the second-week performances of the franchise’s previous installments. F9 unspooled in 4,203 locations and scored a $5,710 per-screen average in its sophomore session. Its total domestic box office after two weeks currently stands at $125.9 million. Overseas, where the film bowed earlier than it did in the U.S., F9 has raked in $374.4 million, bringing its worldwide gross to $500.3 million.

F9 wasn’t the only cause for a victory lap over at Universal headquarters this weekend. Thanks to two other rookies, the studio had a hammerlock on the top three spots in North America over the red-white-and-blue frame. In second place was The Boss Baby: Family Business—a follow-up to Uni’s 2017 kiddie smash, The Boss Baby, again featuring the voice of Alec Baldwin. The PG-rated sequel debuted with $17.3 over its first three days (and is estimated to get its sticky little fingers on $23 million by the end of Monday). And while that doesn’t quite measure up to the original’s $50.2 million bow back in 2017 (the first film ended up making $528 million worldwide), it’s likely a much more solid roll-out than it seems since the movie also premiered simultaneously on NBCUniversal’s new streaming platform, Peacock, and should convince some new subscribers to sign up. In its rookie frame, Boss Baby 2 scored a $4,747 per-screen average in 3,644 theaters. To date, it has added a meager $1.5 million from overseas, bringing its global cume to $24.5 million. Audiences gave the film an ‘A’ CinemaScore. Critics, needless to say, did not.

The third of Universal’s top-three finishers, and the holder of third place this weekend, was the latest entry in Blumhouse’s lucrative Purge franchise, The Forever Purge. The R-rated dystopian horror sequel scared up a hair under $12.8 million over its first three days (and is estimated to grab $15.9 million by the end of Monday). It marked the lowest debut in the five-film saga—the previous chapter, The First Purge, earned $17.4 million in its first three days back in 2018. Still, with a budget pegged at just around $18 million, The Forever Purge doesn’t need to score especially massive numbers to make its way into the black. The new film earned a $4,178 per-screen average in 3,051 theaters. It tacked on a little under $3.6 million overseas, bringing its global total to $19.4 million.

In fourth place was the box-office stalwart A Quiet Place Part II, which is still managing to make some noise with $4.2 million over the first three days of its sixth weekend in multiplexes. Paramount’s PG-13-rated suspense sequel fell off -31.8% from the previous frame, scoring a $1,495 per-screen average in 2,826 theaters. Its domestic total now stands at $144.4 million. Overseas, the film has added $112.1 million to date, putting its current worldwide total at $257.9 million after the long holiday weekend’s numbers are factored in.

Rounding out the top five was The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, which scored $3 million over the first three days of its third weekend. The Lionsgate action-thriller dipped -38.2% from the prior session, earning an $892 per-screen average in 3,361 theaters. The R-rated sequel to 2017’s The Hitman’s Bodyguard now has a combined three-week domestic box-office total of just a little under $31.4 million. So far, the film has pulled in another $15.6 million from overseas, bringing its cumulative worldwide gross to $47.9 million after the long holiday weekend’s numbers are tallied.

Also of note this weekend was the semi-wide opening of A24’s Zola. A twisty (and twisted) road-movie thriller based on an epic Twitter thread about a pair of strippers (played by Taylour Paige and Riley Keough) who head to Florida where their trip goes haywire the R-rated indie bowed in tenth place with $1.2 million over the three-day weekend (since its debut on Wednesday, it has made $2 million). Hailed by critics after its premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, Zola’s first weekend frame delivered an $837 per-screen average in 1,468 locations. It has not opened internationally yet.

Up next week: Marvel’s Black Widow hits theaters.