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Thread: F9

  1. #16
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    Opening in Asia a month before the U.S.

    May 18, 2021 12:09pm PT
    Box Office: ‘F9’ Eyes Massive $150 Million-Plus Debut Overseas

    By Rebecca Rubin


    Giles Keyte/Universal
    “F9” could send the box office into overdrive when it debuts overseas this weekend.

    The latest entry in Universal’s high-octane franchise, which opens in Korea, Hong Kong, the Middle East, Russia and China in the coming days, is expected to bring in at least $150 million to $180 million at the international box office. Industry analysts are offering a wide range, which could balloon even higher, because it’s hard to track initial grosses in foreign markets even when the world isn’t rebounding from a pandemic. As different parts of the globe recover from COVID-19 at different paces, it’s especially challenging to forecast box office ticket sales.

    Outside of the U.S, where “F9” is scheduled to open on June 25, moviegoing has nearly returned to full strength. Asian markets, particularly China and Japan, have been a source of optimism after recently ushering in several blockbusters including “Hi Mom,” “Detective Chinatown 3” and “Demon Slayer: Mugen Train.” Hollywood movies, in post-pandemic times, have seen mixed results internationally.

    Among Hollywood films, the Warner Bros. movie “Godzilla vs. Kong” holds the record for the best opening overseas in the pandemic era. It debuted to $121 million from 38 foreign countries. Even if “F9” falls short of expectations, it should easily surpass that benchmark.

    “F9” was initially slated for last summer, but its release was delayed numerous times during the pandemic. A movie like “F9,” which cost $200 million to produce, is engineered for global audiences and requires outsize ticket sales to get out of the red. It would have been impossible to turn a profit if it were released any earlier, since the majority of movie theaters weren’t in operation. Globally, the nine “Fast” movies have earned more than $5 billion at the box office.

    The film will continue to roll out in 62 markets throughout the summer, including Australia (June 17), Latin America and the U.S. (June 25), and the United Kingdom, Spain, France and Germany in July.

    China will be a key territory for “F9.” That’s not just because the country has recently overtaken the U.S. as the world’s biggest movie market and has been less reliant on Hollywood fare to fuel attendance levels. In prior “Fast and Furious” installments, nearly 30% of global box office totals came from China alone. The most recent chapters in the main “Fast” saga, 2015’s “Furious 7” and 2017’s “The Fate of the Furious,” were enormous hits with each making roughly $390 million in China.

    In China, “F9” is currently pacing ahead of competitors in terms of presales and has already sold $10.5 million (RMB66.6 million) worth of tickets for opening day. More than 80.7% of the country’s movie theaters — accounting for roughly 154,000 screens — will be devoted to playing “F9.” Yet it remains to be seen if ticket sales can surpass (or even match) other “Fast” movies in the territory.

    Filmmaker Justin Lin, who directed four prior “Fast and Furious” movies,” returned for the series’ latest lap in theaters. “F9” stars Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, John Cena and Helen Mirren and follows Diesel’s Dominic Toretto and his family as they take on their fiercest foe yet — Dom’s brother. That journey somehow takes them to space.

    So far, “F9” has received mixed feedback. Variety’s chief film critic Owen Gleiberman says the film “gets stuck in franchise overdrive.” That’s saying something, considering the property’s increasingly loony stunts, which don’t even pretend to obey the laws of physics, have become its greatest marketing tool. Yet Gleiberman notes “it goes through the motions with more energy than intoxication.” IndieWire’s critic David Ehrlich gave the film a “C+” grade, but offered that “for the first time in a long time it feels like it’s drifting in the right direction again.”

    After more than a year of movie delays, audiences appear to be less bogged down by plot and more hypnotized by onscreen action when it comes to buying movie tickets. “Godzilla vs. Kong” and “Mortal Kombat” generated promising sales in the U.S. (while being offered simultaneously on HBO Max), though neither inspired notably strong reviews.

    Leading up to the release of “F9” in the States, Hollywood is planning to unveil a range of major titles including “Black Widow,” “A Quiet Place Part II” and “In the Heights.” For theater owners, who have gone months without much to show on the big screen, summer means one thing: it’s finally time to put the pedal to the metal.

    Becky Davis contributed to this report.
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  2. #17
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    F9 $137 M in PRC

    May 23, 2021 9:45pm PT
    China Box Office: ‘F9’ Clocks up $137 Million in its Opening Lap


    By Patrick Frater


    Giles Keyte/Universal
    “F9” roared into the lead at the China box office, where the “Fast and Furious” franchise has repeatedly lapped faster than in North America.

    On its first weekend in China the film grossed $137 million, according to data from consultancy Artisan Gateway.

    That gave it an 83% share of the China weekend box office, a market share figure that was notably stable from its Friday lights out. Total box office in the country was $165 million between Friday and Sunday.

    Some $12.45 million of the “F9” total was earned from Imax screens in China. That was Imax’s third biggest May opening score (behind “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron”) and Universal’s second-best China opening weekend in Imax venues behind “Fate of the Furious.” The giant screen provider calculates that earning 9% of the nationwide box office from just 1% of the screens showing the film, is a franchise-best result.

    The runaway win was achieved despite a mediocre critical reception in China. On the fan review site Douban “F9” earned only a 5.6 out of ten critical rating. On the more generous ticketing platforms Mtime and Taopiaopiao it earned only slightly better scores of 6.2 and 7.8, respectively.

    Artisan Gateway, nevertheless, calculates that the powerful performance was good for overall health of the theatrical economy. Its data shows that the year-to-date box office cumulative is now $3.86 billion, only 6.5% down on pre-COVID 2019. A week earlier, the gap had been 10%.

    Gritty Chinese romance, “Love Will Tear Us Apart” released a day earlier than “F9” on Thursday in order to coincide with (yet another) local Valentine’s Day. It earned $15.6 million on Thursday and a further $15.1 million between Friday and Sunday, good enough for second place in the local chart.

    Previous chart-topper, Zhang Yimou’s “Cliff Walkers” was edged into third place by the two new releases and earned $5.1 million over the weekend. That lifted its cumulative to $164 million since its pre-May Day release on April 30.

    Japanese film “Love Letter” was re-released on Thursday and managed $4.1 million over the weekend and $7.4 million over four days.

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  3. #18
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    Cena

    'F9' star John Cena says he loves China after Taiwan remark stokes anger

    By Jill Disis, CNN Business

    Updated 2:05 PM ET, Tue May 25, 2021

    Hong Kong (CNN Business)"F9" star John Cena has professed his love for China after calling Taiwan a "country" during an interview that generated a backlash among fans in Hollywood's most important international market.

    The controversy unfolded after Cena — who plays the brother of Vin Diesel's Dom Toretto in the ninth installment of the popular "Fast & Furious" franchise — gave an interview to Taiwanese broadcaster TVBS promoting the film.
    "Taiwan is the first country that can watch F9," Cena told the broadcaster in Mandarin.
    Taiwan is a self-governed democratic island, but China claims it as its sovereign territory despite the two sides being ruled separately since the end of a civil war over 70 years ago. Beijing considers any suggestion of Taiwan's independence crossing its "red line," and has been increasingly trying to use its economic power to police speech on the topic around the world.
    On Tuesday, Cena offered an apology on Weibo, China's popular Twitter-like social media platform. Speaking again in Mandarin, Cena did not refer to Taiwan by name or discuss the incident in detail, but he did say that he "did a lot of interviews" and "made a mistake."
    "I'm sorry for my mistake," Cena said. "I must say now, [it's] very, very, very, very important [that] I love, and respect even more, China and the Chinese people."
    The episode is a sign of how mindful business in general and Hollywood in particular has become about political sensitivities in China, the world's second biggest economy and the world's biggest box office.
    The "Fast & Furious" franchise has traditionally been incredibly well received by Chinese audiences. "F9" took in nearly $136 million in China over the weekend, contributing heavily to what is now the biggest opening for a Hollywood film during the pandemic.
    Cena has many fans in China, including more than 600,000 followers on Weibo. He's been studying Chinese for years, and often posts videos on the platform in which he speaks the language while doing movie promos.
    Others in the "Fast & Furious" cast have also touted China during promotional tours. During a virtual movie premiere, Diesel reportedly said that part of the franchise's finale would be shot in China, according to state-run news agency Xinhua.
    NBCUniversal, which owns Universal Pictures, the distributor of the film, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNN Business.
    Cena's apology video has amassed some 7,000 responses on Weibo so far. Some critics are still angry about his remarks, and accused him of not going far enough.
    "Please say 'Taiwan is part of China' in Chinese, otherwise we will not accept," one person wrote.
    "I don't understand why the Chinese people should be so tolerant to him, who has a vague political stance while profiting from Chinese people," another wrote.
    Others were more forgiving. One person pointed out that Cena has been learning Chinese for several years.
    "Looking at his previous interviews, I can feel that he really likes China," the person wrote. "He said the wrong thing and paid the price. He is different from other foreign actors who dare not respond or have different political opinions."
    Beijing often polices the way global brands talk about China or any of its political interests. In 2018, for example, the Chinese government demanded that American Airlines (AAL), Delta (DAL) and United (UAL) change the way they referred to Taiwan or risk sanctions in China, one of the world's biggest markets for air travel. Also that year, hotel group Marriott's website and app were blocked for a week after it listed Tibet, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan as separate "countries" in its emails and app.
    "F9" is also far from the first Western movie to face political pressures in China. Last year, the fantasy action movie "Monster Hunter," distributed by Sony (SNE), was pulled from theaters in the country days after its release, following uproar on social media about a pun in the script that some viewers said was racist.
    And Disney's (DIS) "Mulan" struggled in the country in the wake of numerous controversies involving pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and alleged human rights abuses in China's Xinjiang region. Some within China also criticized the film, with the state-run Global Times writing after the release of the trailer in 2019 that "Mulan" used Japanese "ninja gestures" and Chinese stereotypes.
    — Eric Cheung, Laura He and Shanshan Wang contributed to this report.
    Oops. Imagine how much that comment might have cost...
    Gene Ching
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  4. #19
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    And people complain about getting banned on Facebook...

    May 26, 2021
    2:58 AM PDT
    Media & Telecom
    Fast & Furious star John Cena apologises for calling Taiwan a country
    Yew Lun Tian

    3 minute read

    Cast member John Cena poses at the premiere for "Ferdinand" in Los Angeles, California, U.S., December 10, 2017. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

    U.S. wrestling superstar and actor John Cena apologised to Chinese fans on Tuesday after calling Taiwan a country during an interview to promote his latest movie "Fast & Furious 9".

    Speaking to Taiwanese television TVBS earlier this month, 44-year-old Cena said Taiwan would be the first "country" to see the latest Fast and Furious.

    China regards Taiwan as its province, an assertion that most on the self-ruled, democratic island rejects.

    "I made one mistake. I am very, very sorry for this mistake," Cena said in Mandarin in a video posted on his account on Weibo, a Twitter-like microblog popular in China.

    "I love and respect China and the Chinese people," he added.

    Cena joins a long list of international celebrities who have incurred the wrath of an increasingly nationalistic Chinese public over their comments about Taiwan, Hong Kong or Xinjiang.

    Companies have also come under fire, with several airlines and hotels apologising to China in recent years for listing Taiwan as a country on their booking websites.

    Cena's apology was not enough for many mainland Chinese netizens.

    "Please use Mandarin to say Taiwan is part of China. Otherwise we won't accept the apology," read a comment left on Cena's apology video that received the most "likes".

    Neither did the apology go down well in the United States.

    "Can someone please help John Cena locate his spine, please?" wrote Matt Karolian, manager of American news website Boston.com, on Twitter.

    U.S. Senator Tom Cotton called the apology "pathetic" in a tweet.

    China's foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in response that criticism of Cena in the United States did not make sense.

    Cotton's remarks were "just like waste paper," he added, speaking at a regular news conference in Beijing on Wednesday.

    Taiwan's Foreign Ministry declined to comment.

    The movie has been a box office hit in mainland China since its open on May 21.

    Over the last weekend, China accounted for $135 million of the movie's $162 million in revenue, according to U.S. entertainment publication Variety.
    ‘Late Show with Stephen Colbert’ Mocks John Cena’s Apology to China
    The movie star and former pro-wrestler started an international controversy for calling Taiwan a country and then walking the comment back.
    BY RYAN PARKER
    MAY 27, 2021 6:16AM

    John Cena
    John Cena attends 'Playing With Fire' New York Premiere at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on October 26, 2019 in New York City. JOHN LAMPARSKI/FILMMAGIC
    The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Wednesday mocked John Cena’s recent apology to China after he called Taiwan a country.

    The movie star and former pro-wrestler started an international controversy after making the statement during a promotional interview for his upcoming film, F9 — then issuing an apology (in Mandarin) to China.

    “I made a mistake,” Cena said in his apology video issued Tuesday. “Now I have to say one thing which is very, very, very important: I love and respect China and Chinese people. I’m very sorry for my mistakes. Sorry. Sorry. I’m really sorry. You have to understand that I love and respect China and Chinese people.”

    The Late Show on Wednesday released the “full” apology video, mocking Cena’s decision. “Not only is Taiwan not a country, it is also not even a real place,” read the faux interruption of Cena’s words. “It’s like Zootopia, which coincidentally made $220 million in China.”

    Continued the faux interruption, “And don’t even get me started on Tibet! Always complaining, complaining, complaining about China. I will give Tibet something to complain about.” The video then cut to Cena bodyslamming a digital 14th Dalai Lama (“I call that a ‘Daili-Slam-A,” read the faux interruption).

    The Cena matter highlighted the fraught relationship between Hollywood and China. Entertainment industry figures, including professional sports players, have been criticized for comments perceived as political. And Hollywood studios have been criticized over claims that they shape content to avoid offending Chinese government censors.

    Watch the Late Show video below.

    F9
    Chollywood-rising
    Gene Ching
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  5. #20
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    F9 - Official Trailer 2

    Gene Ching
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  6. #21
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    Our newest article - Free from KungFuMagazine.com

    Chollywood Risen. READ F9: THE FAST SAGA Cruising Back into Theaters by Gene Ching



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  7. #22
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    How F9 Brings Back Justice for Han and Asian Inclusion

    Read my additional coverage for Den of Geek: How F9 Brings Back Justice for Han and Asian Inclusion

    Gene Ching
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