The “Fast and the Furious” franchise is the latest production to suffer a setback following the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Universal Studios has postponed the theatrical release of the ninth film titled “Fast 9” back a year, according to Variety.
The film was originally set to premiere on May 22, 2020, but will now open globally in April 2021 with a U.S. release date of April 2.
The announcement was made on the "Fast 9" Instagram account: “We feel all the love and the anticipation you have for the next chapter in our saga. That’s why it’s especially tough to let you know that we have to move the release date of the film. It’s become clear that it won’t be possible for all of our fans around the world to see the film this May.”
“While we know there is disappointment in having to wait a little while longer, this move is made with the safety of everyone as our foremost consideration,” he added.
This comes just days after Vin Diesel told USA Today that there was no way the release was going to be delayed.
“We need movies now more than ever. We're already in a very interesting time where cinema and the cinematic experience is so threatened,” he said while doing press for his new Sony Pictures film, “Bloodshot.”
He also revealed he wasn’t letting the coronavirus stop him from connecting with his fans.
“So, yes, put it on record we're going to show up. I love to show up for the audience and for the fans because God knows how much they've showed up for me. I’m crazy. I'm begging Sony to let me go to China, even now. And you should see everyone's faces like, 'You're going alone, buddy,” he revealed.
“Maybe the higher thinking is not to just focus on the box office, but know that we're all one world and we all have to get through this together,” he added.
The “Fast and the Furious” franchise isn’t the only highly-anticipated film to push back its release.
The new James Bond film “No Time to Die” moved its release from April to November out of concern for the virus and how it’s shifting the distribution landscape.
Theaters in heavily affected parts of the world including Italy, China, and South Korea remain closed with many other countries debating whether or not to shutter their theaters until the virus subsides.
Similarly, Emily Blunt revealed she is postponing the premiere of a “Quiet Place Part II.”
The film was set to premiere on March 20, 2020. No new date has been revealed.