Fast and Furious 9 is only a few weeks away from its theatrical release. But franchise fans and casual moviegoers aren't the only ones being treated to exciting action sequences this summer, as it has been reported that Fast and Furious 9 will be screening in this June's Cannes Film Festival.
The Cannes Film Festival is an annual event that takes place in Cannes, France, and it is one of the oldest and most influential film festivals in the world. The festival is expected to select high-brow, artful films from around the world, and they recently announced the selections for its 74th annual outing, which include films like The French Dispatch from Wes Anderson, Flag Day from Sean Penn, and Bernadetta from RoboCop director Paul Verhoeven. The list of selections in competition and in categories such as Un Certain Regard and Midnight Screenings all line up well with the usual thought process from Cannes for selecting films.
However, Cannes had announced a mystery blockbuster screening that will happen later in the festival's two-week run, and Variety has now been confirmed that Fast and Furious 9 was the mystery screening in question. The franchise itself isn't a stranger to film festivals, as Furious 7 premiered at the SXSW Film Festival before its release in 2015, but this is the first time the franchise has ever screened at Cannes specifically. This isn't the first time Cannes has shown popular Hollywood blockbusters, as Inside Out, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Steven Speilberg's The BFG are examples of films with blockbuster potential that have screened out of competition in previous years.
It also wouldn't be accurate to say that Cannes is too averse to genre films. Tobe Hooper's horror classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre screened in the Director's Fortnight category of the festival in 1975, and many other popular films had out-of-competition screenings and special screenings. Those films include Dirty Dancing, Ocean's Thirteen, Blues Brothers 2000, Kung Fu Panda, and The Fifth Element. Famously, the animated cultural phenomenon Shrek premiered In-Competition at Cannes in 2001.
The screening of Fast and Furious 9 comes at a moment when major film festivals and awards bodies are becoming more open to recognizing blockbuster films. Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool were nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay by the Writer's Guild Association, and the Oscars recently broke their streak of snubbing superhero films for Best Picture by nominating Black Panther and Joker in the category. The Venice Film Festival went a step further by not only screening Joker in competition but also awarding the film with the Golden Lion, their Best Picture prize.
Fast and Furious 9 won't revolutionize Cannes by screening at the festival, but the willingness to have the film present among auteurs such as Anderson and Verhoeven could be seen as a step in the right direction. However, the reception of Fast and Furious 9 by the Cannes audience—largely critics and high-ranking industry figures—remains to be seen.
Fast and Furious 9 is scheduled to be released in theaters on June 25, 2021.