Fast & Furious 9 is coming to Indian cinemas — even though most of are closed right now and there’s no clarity when they might fully reopen. Universal Pictures announced Thursday that Fast 9 (as it’ll be known in India) will release Thursday, August 5 in India in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada. The India release date for F9 comes over two months after its global premiere (in late May in China, Korea, Hong Kong, and the Middle East) and a month and a half since its debut in Universal’s home market, the US (where it released late June). Fast & Furious 9 will be the first big movie for Indian cinemas following the second COVID-19 wave, with Bollywood still waiting it out.
Universal Pictures announced the August 5 India release date for Fast & Furious 9 in a video featuring trade analyst Komal Nahta, acknowledging the low-quality pirated copies that have been swirling around the Internet since late May. It’s interesting that a major Hollywood studio is confronting the piracy risks head on. And though the potshots at the quality of the F9 cam versions are valid, Universal’s India pitch doesn’t fully work for two reasons. One, fears of a third wave are growing as COVID-19 cases are ticking up nationwide. How many theatres will even be available to screen Fast & Furious 9?
After all, Maharashtra — the state with the most number of screens in India — reclosed cinemas in June, and the government has yet to say when it might allow them to reopen. A few other states have said that they will allow cinemas to reopen later in July with 50 percent capacity, but that might leave Fast & Furious 9 with a limited release, rather than a proper opening. On top of that, while Universal can say that pirated versions diminish the experience right now, that won’t be the case for much longer. F9 is expected in late July on premium video-on-demand in the US.
Co-written and directed by Justin Lin, F9 stars Vin Diesel as Dom Toretto, Michelle Rodriguez as Letty Ortiz, Tyrese Gibson as Roman Pearce, Ludacris as Tej Parker, John Cena as Dom’s brother Jakob Toretto, Jordana Brewster as Mia Toretto, Nathalie Emmanuel as Ramsey, Sung Kang as Han Lue back from the dead, Helen Mirren as Magdalene Shaw, Kurt Russell as Mr. Nobody, and Charlize Theron as Fast & Furious 8 villain Cipher. Lucas Black returns as Tokyo Drift lead Sean Boswell, with Bow Wow and Jason Tobin returning with him as Twinkie and Earl Hu.
Fast & Furious 9 is out August 5 in Indian cinemas in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada.