When it came to trailer views and social media activity, Fast & Furious 9 was easily the big winner at this year’s Super Bowl. The NFL’s 2020 championship game was a success all around, becoming the first Super Bowl in five years to see an increase in ratings. There were fewer commercials for movies than there have been in the past, with studios like Warner Bros. and Sony sitting out the game entirely and Paramount opting for cheaper pre-game show spots. But if anything, that cleared the way for the films that did premiere trailers to stand out more.
Among the hotly-anticipated 2020 releases to get a Super Bowl spot was F9 aka. Fast & Furious 9, the ninth core film in the high-octane franchise. The commercial highlighted the movie’s physics-defying spectacle and set pieces over its trailer’s much-discussed plot reveals, in a bid to better appeal to the crowd tuning in for the Big Game. The strategy paid off, allowing Fast & Furious 9‘s marketing to make a huge impression right out the gate.
According to social media analyst RelishMix (via Deadline), the Fast & Furious 9 Super Bowl spot and trailer (which dropped just two days earlier) drew a combined 110.9 million views in the first 24 hours after the Super Bowl on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. That’s far and above beyond the traffic for the other big films that debuted Super Bowl spots in 2020, including Marvel’s Black Widow (18.1 million) and MGM’s expensive spot for No Time to Die (10.1 million). It also dwarfed the post Super Bowl traffic for last year’s Hobbs & Shaw spinoff (85.5 million) and The Fate of the Furious in 2017 (42.2 million).
No doubt, this turnout is partly the result of Universal’s decision to make a proper event out of the Fast & Furious 9 trailer launch. The studio premiered the preview as part of a live concert in Miami two days before the Super Bowl. This allowed them to dominate the entertainment news cycle on what was otherwise a fairly quiet pre-Super Bowl Friday. Of course, it helped the Fast & Furious 9 trailer included two game-changing reveals; not only is John Cena playing Dominic Toretto’s forsaken brother, Jacob, but Sung Kang is back as Han Seoul-Oh after he appeared to die in Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Universal even turned the #JusticeForHan movement into an official Fast & Furious 9 hashtag that trended after the trailer release.
Thanks to its Super Bowl performance, pre-ticket sales for Fast & Furious 9 are currently outstripping those for Hobbs & Shaw and Fate of the Furious. It was always expected the film would perform well, but it’s clearly gotten a boost from its marketing and now has the makings of a proper event, as opposed to just another sequel. It’s fitting the Fast & Furious franchise was recently dubbed The Fast Saga, considering it’s come as close as any franchise to challenging the MCU and Star Wars for dominance at the box office. And just like Marvel’s Infinity Saga, it seems the story of Dom Toretto could end up getting a two-part finale to bring everything to a close.