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'F9' will blast off for a 'Fast & Furious' screening at prestigious Cannes Film Festival this year

By Josh Weiss

Following its wide theatrical rollout on Friday, June 25, Universal's F9 will don a tux for a swanky public screening at this year's edition of the Cannes Film Festival.

Variety confirmed the news Monday, following up on the tease of "a planetary blockbuster" made by the festival's artistic director, Thierry Fremaux, back in March. Until today, there was apparently a lot of speculation over whether the mystery film would be Dune (Oct. 1), No Time to Die (Oct. 8), or Steven Spielberg's West Side Story (Dec. 10).

Arriving on French screens Wednesday, July 14, F9's Cannes debut will be attended by "delegates, Cannes locals, and holidaymakers in attendance," Variety reports. "The cast, however, isn’t expected to attend." This is the first time that a Fast & Furious project will screen during the premiere cinematic gathering, which returns to an in-person format after being forced to go fully virtual last year as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis.

"A number of films were pushed to the end of 2021 due to the pandemic, and some for spring 2022. If we have to wait till then, we will be patient!" Fremaux told the Hollywood trade outlet. "Otherwise, with producers and directors I have friendly relationships with, everything went well. After some hesitation, a few months ago, the confidence is back. They know Cannes will happen. We must admit that no one expected such a 'miraculous' situation."

The last time the high-octane franchise took part in a film festival was in March 2015 when Furious 7 hosted a surprise — and rather poignant — screening at SXSW about a month before its wide release. F9 has already opened internationally, where it's surpassed $250 million at the box office. More than $200 million of that figure comes from China, making the ninth chapter in the Fast Saga one of only 19 American releases to cross $200 million at the Chinese box office.

The 73rd annual Cannes Film Festival takes place between July 6-17. Click here for the full lineup of this year's selected features. Director Spike Lee (Da 5 Bloods) is leading the competition jury.

"If we remember 2020, the sense of security will be strong throughout the summer, more so than in the fall when it could start all over again," Fremaux added. "This pandemic is endless. Cannes is taking place but we must repeat that the pandemic is not conquered. We will be cautious."