Updates on Canadian availability of "American Horror Stories", "Anne Boleyn", and more.
F9, the ninth main film in the Fast & Furious franchise (or, as it's apparently now being branded, The Fast Saga), starring Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, John Cena, Helen Mirren, and many others, was released in North America on Friday, June 25, 2021 by Universal Pictures.
In Canada, the film is available in theatres where permitted to open. In Ontario, where indoor cinemas have not yet been permitted to re-open, F9 is available at select drive-in theatres. However, unlike some other distributors, Universal will not be releasing this movie on premium video on demand (PVOD) for the time being. We'll explain why below.
Where can I see "F9" in theatres?
Although theatres in most parts of Canada were closed throughout the coronavirus pandemic, as of June 24, cinemas have been permitted to reopen in all provinces except for Ontario and Manitoba. We searched Universal Picures Canada's F9 microsite and found screenings in almost all major markets outside those two provinces, though many of the venues that are open are subject to capacity restrictions for the time being.
It's not clear when Manitoba will be opening cinemas, except that they won't be part of a reopening phase that begins on June 26 which includes restaurants and salons. Drive-in theatres in Manitoba are permitted to open, but those we found that are open do not appear to be screening F9 on opening weekend.
As for Ontario, indoor theatres are part of Phase 3 of its reopening plan, which is presently scheduled to take effect on Thursday, July 21 (21 days after Phase 2 takes effect on June 30). However, drive-ins are open in Ontario, with many scheduled to play F9, as indicated by this list posted on Twitter by The Globe and Mail's Barry Hertz:
That listing of drive-ins in text form, along with the most official venue links we could find (locations may be subject to change weekly):
- 5 Drive In 3 – Oakville, ON
- Sunset Drive In 3 – Barrie, ON
- Muskoka Drive In 2 – Gravenhurst, ON
- Post Hope Drive In – Port Hope, ON
- Starlite Drive In 2 – Grand Bend, ON
- Mustang Drive In – Guelph, ON
- Starlite Drive In 3 – Hamilton, ON
- Hanover Drive In – Hanover, ON
- Lindsay Drive In 2 – Lindsay, ON
- Mustang Drive In 2 – London, ON
- Port Elmsley Drive In Theatre – Port Elmsley, ON
- Stardust Drive In 3 – Newmarket, ON
- Can-View Drive In 4 – Thorold, ON
- Oxford Drive In – Woodstock, ON
The only other option for Ontarians for now would be to drive to another area where indoor theatres are open. But unless you're in the Ottawa area in close proximity to the Quebec border and able to drive to a cinema in Gatineau, that's probably not practical.
Can I watch "F9" at home in Canada?
Not at this point, but there is a possibility that it could be made available on premium video on demand (PVOD) – also known as "Home Premiere", which typically involves a rental price of around $24.99 through a service like iTunes or Google Play – within a few weeks of its theatrical release, under agreements that Universal Pictures reached late in 2020 with cinema circuits including Cineplex in Canada.
Under these agreements, Universal has agreed to theatrical exclusivity for at least the first three weekends (17 days) in release, but can then release movies to PVOD as well after the third weekend. This applies unless a release has more than US$50 million gross ticket sales at the "domestic" (North American) box office during its first weekend in which case the window must be at least 31 days (five weekends).
With an opening-weekend North American box office of almost US$100 million, F9 will be in the latter category, meaning the earliest it could hit PVOD would be July 26.
That said, just because Universal has the option to release to PVOD at that point does not mean it will do so, particularly for a franchise like Fast & Furious that consistently performs well at the box office. So for now, we think it's unlikely that Universal will do this in late July, but it might start offering something along these lines in August or September.
When will "F9" be available on streaming in Canada?
F9's availability on subscription streaming services will likely follow the typical windowing (or release availability) pattern for Universal releases in Canada.
That would mean – assuming the contracts currently in effect stay in place, which at this stage is not guaranteed – F9 will be available on Crave (with Movies + HBO), which holds the first pay/streaming window for Universal releases in Canada, likely starting in early 2022. A little over a year later (likely in the first half of 2023), the film would likely move to Netflix, which currently holds Universal's second pay window in Canada.
To give an example of how these windows currently work with Universal movies: the most recent animated film version of The Grinch was released theatrically by Universal in November 2018. It became available on Crave in June 2019 (about eight months after release), then moved to Netflix Canada in December 2020 (about 18 months after that). Again, contracts do change from time to time, but at this point we expect F9 will most likely follow a similar pattern.
- June 30, 2021 – added text version of Ontario drive-in theatre listings, and other minor updates