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Universal brings out stars and stunts in a high-octane CinemaCon event

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Source: Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chairman Donna Langley put her best foot forward in a difficult week for the studio to host a high-octane, star-studded CinemaCon presentation on Wednesday.

Highlights included Christopher Nolan showing footage from his summer tentpole Oppenheimer, footage from Wicked Part 1, appearances by Ryan Gosling, Emily Blunt, Jack Black, Will Ferrell, Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, Michelle Rodriguez, a live performance by a stunt team, and the announcement by Vin Diesel that Fast X Part 2 will open in summer 2025.

Three days after the shock firing of her boss, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell, Langley looked relaxed as she walked on to stage at The Colosseum in Caesar’s Palace.

In a year when UFEG will release 27 films, Langley wasted little time referencing Universal/Illumination’s global smash The Super Mario Bros. Movie at the start of the session, noting it “will be the first movie to cross $1bn at the worldwide box office” this year, expected to happen this weekend.

After Nolan, Illumination head Chris Meledrandri showed a clip from the animation powerhouse’s upcoming December 22 tentpole duck family story Migration written by Mike White and directed by Benjamin Renner. The voice cast includs Elizabeth Banks, Awkwafina, Danny DeVito, Kamail Nanjiani, Keegan-Michael Kay, David Mitchell, and Carol Kane.

Will Ferrell, cradling Sophie, the dog who portrays Reggie voice by Ferrell, came on to talk up R-rated animated adventure comedy Strays and show a clip. The film opens on June 9.

Blumhouse founder and producer Jason Blum, whooping frequently, thanking the crowd of exhibitors for making his horror film Megan a $176m global hit. The Megan sequel will come out on January 17, 2025.

Blum was joined by David Gordon Green, franchise director of the Halloween horror film. They discussed their The Exorcist: Believer and showed a clip from the horror. It opens on October 13 and features Ellen Burnstyn from 1973’s original. The

Megan sequel willcome out on January 17, 2025.

Blum was joined by Halloween franchise director David Gordon Green to talk up his The Exorcist:


and show a clip from the horror, which will open on October 13 and features Ellen Burnstyn from the 1973 original.Jack Black, Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake were the highlights of the DreamWorks Animation segment, which included footage from June 30 release Ruby Gillman, Teenage Krakan


Kendrick and Timberlake introduced first – and incomplete – footage from Trolls Band Together, the follow-up to Trolls World Tour, which Universal sent straight to PVoD in April 2020 after cinemas shut down during the pandemic.Timberlake referred to the 2020 film’s “little detour to streaming” and added, “Look, the pandemic did crazy things to all of us” and declared the third entry in the family animation series would return to the big screen. It is currently in post.

Black, kitted out in a black and white suit, outlined the plot to March 2024 tentpole

Kung Fu Panda 4, in which Po must overcome villainous adversary The Chameleon.‘Fast X’, stunts, ‘The Fall Guy’, ‘Wicked Part 1’

Fast X franchise “leader” Diesel delivered a long, seemingly ad-libbed speech extolling the virtues of theatrical distribution ahead of the tentpole’s May 19 launch. He thanked Langley for releasing the F9 The Fast Saga during the pandemic. (The May 2019 release grossed over $726m worldwide.) He also said that the Fast movies have each produced the most successful films in each participating director’s career. Diesel, Tyrese, and Jordana Brewster appeared on stage before Diesel’s speech. Gosling and Blunt then joined director David Leitch to promote March 2024 comedic action tentpole

  • The Fall Guy

, in which Gosling plays a stuntman and Blunt his ex who happes to be directing a film he is working on.01001010The show climaxed with rough footage from John M. Chu’s upcoming 2024 release 01001010Wicked Part 101001010,01001010the first in a two-part adaptation ot the Broadway musical based on 01001010The Wizard Of Oz01001010. Cynthia Erivo stars with Ariana Grande, Michelle Yeoh and Jeff Goldblum. The first part will be released on November 27, 2024, and the second on December 25, 2025.

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