Fast 9 the biggest film opening since 2019 as ad spend jumps 122% in May

Cinema audiences have finally cracked 2019 levels, with Val Morgan figures on Fast & Furious 9 showing the film had the biggest opening weekend of any new release since Jumanji: The Next Level in December, 2019.

The opening saw Australian cinema get its biggest non-holiday opening weekend performance since pre-pandemic, with a 4-day audience of 895,000, with numbers up 26% week-on-week.

Fast 9 is also the fifth movie release in the last three months to outperform Val Morgan’s audience expectations, with managing director Guy Burbidge stating the numbers “prove that the appetite to get back into the cinema is undiminished and that when content returns so do the audiences”.

Val Morgan’s Guy Burbidge says advertisers are following audiences

Speaking with Mumbrella, Burbidge attributed solidified release dates as a contributing factor in audience growth, after months and months of blockbusters being pushed back due to COVID-19.

“All the signs are positive for a big back half of the year,” he said. “All major movies have performed beyond our forecasts.”

It’s not just audiences who are flocking back to Australian cinema either, with SMI’s most recent ad spend numbers for April showing the cinema category hit growth in year-on-year spend (11.8%) for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.

Burbirdge shares that early data from SMI for May suggest cinema will be up 122% year-on-year. “Advertisers are following the audiences and content,” he said.

While those numbers are impressive, Burbidge said internal benchmarks are being compared to 2019 rather than a pandemic-impacted 2020.

“Our internal benchmarks are against 2019 where it’s more comparable to the situation of the future and not the pandemic business conditions and models we’ve experienced,” he said.

Intermittent lockdowns haven’t had much of an impact either. “Through each small lockdown in 2021, the audience admissions dip whilst in lockdown but then jump back up to pre-lockdown levels and continue their upward trajectory.”

“Overall the intention/desire for Australian’s to get back into cinema has never taken a backward step.”

Releases set to drop over the back half of the year include Black Widow, Shang Chi Legend of Ten Rings, No Time to Die, Eternals, Top Gun: Maverick, The Boss Baby 2, Venom: Let there be Carnage, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, House of Gucci, Dune, The Matrix 4 and Spider-Man: No Way Home.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.