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BARCELONA — Universal Pictures may not have shared any new footage from Fifty Shades of Grey, but it did reveal new marketing materials for origins movie Dracula Untold during its presentation at CineEurope, the annual gathering of foreign exhibitors.
Directed by Gary Shore, the movie is based on Bram Stocker‘s novel Dracula and stars Luke Evans as the iconic vampire. Universal and Legendary Pictures co-financed the movie, which hits theaters in October. In one of the new international posters, Evans is seen with massive black wings. Universal also showed a behind-the-scenes reel and interviews with Shore and the cast.
Showing up in person at the Universal presentation was Luc Besson, who talked through two extended scenes from his upcoming action film Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson. Besson said he wanted to bring footage from his film because “as we all know, trailers can lie.” He also said that the near-future actioner that sees Johansson’s character’s brain power fully unleashed as she turns into a warrior is the product of more than two years of work.
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Besson wasn’t the only guest at Universal’s showcase, with U.K. producer Andrew Macdonald showing up to trumpet the first trailer for Ex: Machina, the directorial debut of screenwriter and novelist Alex Garland. Macdonald, who has known Garland for 15 years and has produced the writer’s scripts for The Beach, 28 Days Later, Sunshine, Never Let Me Go and Dredd, described his friend as a “filmmaker to his core” before the extended trailer aired.
The artificial intelligence drama set in the near future stars Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac and Alicia Vikander.
Universal Pictures International president of distribution Duncan Clark kicked off Tuesday’s slate presentation for “2014 and beyond.”
Clark took the opportunity to highlight Universal’s success with local titles such as France’s The Babysitter (more than 2 million admissions), German box-office smash Der Medicus (over $40 million in box office), Viy in Russia ($35 million) and comedy Ocho Appellidos Vascos (Spanish Affair), which is the second-biggest film of all time at the Spanish box office, surpassed only by Avatar.
He reflected on 2013, a year in which Universal generated $2.3 billion from the international box office alone from a slate including Fast and Furious 6, Despicable Me 2, Les Miserables and Ted.
Clark then handed over presentation duties to Simon Hewlett, UPI executive vp marketing, who welcomed everyone with the line “welcome to the future.”
There was a special preview showcase for Stephen Daldry’s Rio de Janeiro thriller Trash, and a “very special preview” of Stephen Hawking biopic Theory of Everything, starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, as well as an extended trailer for Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken, the chronicle of the life of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who was taken prisoner by Japanese forces during World War II, played in the film by Jack O’Connell.
Hewlett asked if there was anyone crying in the audience after the footage of Theory of Everything. “Yes,” came a shout from a female in the cavernous auditorium. “Good!” Hewlett said.
International trailers also unspooled for Get On Up: The James Brown Story, The Purge: Anarchy and horror film As Above, So Below.
Attendees also got to see an extended scene from Seventh Son, featuring Game of Thrones star Kit Harington alongside Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore in the knights-and-witchcraft thriller before an extended trailer for Boxtrolls, set to go in October, aired.
The presentation ended with a quick trip through Universal’s 2015 slate, which Hewlett said promises to be a “record-breaking monster year.”
It will include Jurassic World, the latest installment of the “blockbuster defining franchise,” and the seventh Fast & Furious installment, with the late Paul Walker.
Anyone hoping for more about Fifty Shades of Grey left disappointed, with the title enjoying no more than a mention and a reminder of its Valentine’s Day 2015 release date.
Next year’s Universal slate also includes Everest, a 3D epic from U.K. production stable Working Title films, along with Ted 2, the follow-up to Seth Macfarlane’s talking-bear R-rated comedy smash, and Pitch Perfect 2, a follow-up to the musical comedy.
Former Paramount Pictures International chief and current Imax EMEA president Andrew Cripps, who has known Clark and worked alongside and opposite him at rival studios for more than 25 years, presented him with the honor after a slide show of Clark’s life from boyhood to manhood.
Before Clark took to the stage, his outgoing boss, David Kosse, president of international for Universal, got a nod by CineEurope for his 10-year tenure building the studio’s international operations from the British capital.
Kosse is exiting later this year after Universal made the decision to move the bulk of its international operations to Los Angeles, with Clark remaining aboard in London following the shakeup.
Clark joked about the times people thought he was Steven Spielberg or Ringo Starr and his continuing ability to lose iPads and iPhones on the road after a reel of tributes from studio executives, filmmakers and his team embarrassed the self-effacing veteran.
He thanked the Universal team and Kosse for “some of the best times” in his 30-year-plus career in movie marketing.
Clark also said it would be remiss of him not to give one final plug for an upcoming Universal movie, telling exhibitors to look out for and support Richard Linklater’s Boyhood.
“It seems a fitting film to talk about when my wife and son, Jack, are here in the audience with me today,” Clark said.
CineEurope is aimed at the international exhibition industry and is used by the major studios and big-ticket independent distributors to build anticipation for major releases from upcoming release slates. The convention is operated by FilmExpo Group, which is owned by THR‘s parent company, Guggenheim Partners. The annual convention runs June 16-19 in Barcelona.
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Jon M. Chu