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'F9' postponed for third time; 'Minions' sequel moved to 2022

The "Fast & Furious" sequel "F9" will be

The "Fast & Furious" sequel "F9" will be released on June 25. Credit: Universal Studios / Fast & Furious Saga

The next "Fast & Furious" film has been pushed down the road again. Universal Pictures on Thursday announced that "F9," the ninth entry in the hot-rod franchise, will now arrive in theaters June 25, just a month later than its previously announced date of May 28. This is the film’s third postponement since the beginning of the pandemic; all told, "F9" has now been pushed back more than a full year from its original date of May 22, 2020.

In other Universal news, the release of the studio’s animated sequel "Minions: The Rise of Gru," will be postponed to July 1, 2022, also a full year after its previous release date.

The delays from Universal signal that movie studios are still waiting for the right moment to release their biggest blockbusters into theaters. That moment is clearly not imminent, despite the March 5 reopening date for cinemas in New York City, the country’s second-largest movie market after Los Angeles. With cinemas still restricted to 25% capacity — and a maximum of 50 people per auditorium — studios might be skeptical that their big-budget productions will be able to turn a profit.

Nevertheless, there are signs that theatergoers will turn out for the right movie. "Tom and Jerry," a live-action/animation hybrid from Warner Bros., wound up exceeding expectations with a strong $13.7 million debut last month. Perhaps encouraged by that film’s success, Sony Pictures bumped its own live-action/animation hybrid, "Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway," up by one month to May 14.

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