IMAX (NYSE: IMAX) raced to a blazing start for the 2021 summer box office season with the strong international debut of Universal’s “F9,” which delivered $14 million across 800 IMAX screens in China, the Middle East, Russia, and South Korea. Despite opening in a limited number of markets, the latest “Fast & Furious” epic drove IMAX to its biggest opening weekend for a Hollywood film since December 2019 and its second biggest international opening weekend ever in the month of May.
“Summer blockbuster season has arrived with the strong debut of “F9,” and it’s clear there is healthy pent-up demand among global audiences as big, highly anticipated Hollywood movies return to theaters,” said Rich Gelfond, CEO of IMAX. “‘Universal’s bold strategy to launch the release of “F9″ in China and jump start the summer clearly paid off, and the early success of the film bodes well for the continued rebound of the global box office.”
China led the way with a $12.4 million opening weekend on IMAX screens, as Chinese audiences continued to drive the global resurgence in moviegoing. IMAX delivered 9.2% of “F9″‘s weekend gross in China on only 1% of overall screens — a franchise-best for IMAX China that edged out its 8.8% opening weekend share for 2013’s “Furious 6.” “F9” also scored the biggest opening day in China for the franchise in IMAX.
“F9” also delivered the biggest opening weekend for IMAX since 2019 in both Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
IMAX continues to drive strong market share in China in the pandemic era, despite accounting for only 1% of total screens in the market. The performance of “F9” continues the resurgence of the Asian box office, including the number-one and two highest grossing IMAX releases in Japan of all time and the second highest grossing Chinese New Year holiday for IMAX China.