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LAS VEGAS — Universal Pictures chairman Adam Folgeson impressed exhibitors Thursday with a peek at the studio’s upcoming lineup — including a first look at Les Miserables and Tom Cruise starrer Oblivion — but the presentation was peppered with much of the same raunchy humor for which the studio’s comedies are famous.
It began with Snow White and the Hunstsman star Charlize Theron, who said she only agreed to do the movie if it was “balls to the wall,” prompting Snow White director Rupert Sanders to respond, “I didn’t realize they would be my balls.” Theron shot back, “my balls are still intact.”
Later, Fogelson brought Seth MacFarlane on stage at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, asking him if it was a relief to work without the contraints of television and use as many “f–ks” as he wanted in the Mark Wahlberg comedy Ted, about a man and his real-life teddy bear.
MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy, said the process of making Ted was freeing, but added that the R-rated comedy, opening July 13, does have a “sweet backbone.”
Fogelson then asked if there was anything MacFarlane wanted to do on stage. After a few seconds, MacFarlane responded, “You want me to pull my dick out? Only if you will,” prompting hoots and applause from the audience (footage from Ted also drew a rousing response).
Overall, theater owners were impressed with Universal’s lineup, noting that it’s been several years since the studio has participated at CinemaCon. They credited Fogelson and Universal Pictures co-chairman Donna Langley for putting together a well-defined slate.
Universal is riding high so far this year, and is No. 1 in marketshare, thanks to a slew of hits including Safe House and Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax. This weekend, the studio opens the Jason Segel comedy Five-Year Engagement.
In addition to showing footage from Show White, starring Kristen Stewart as the title characer and Theron as the witch, Universal treated exhibitors to extended footage from its other summer films, including Oliver Stone’s crime drama Savages, Ted and the The Bourne Legacy, starring Jeremy Renner, who also participated in the presentation.
Universal’s turn in The Colosseum — the final of the six major studios to present at CinemaCon, which wraps Thursday night — packed plenty of star power in addition to Theron and Renner, including Stewart, Stone and his Savages stars Taylor Kitsch, John Travolta and Selma Hayek, and Ted co-star Mila Kunis.
Fogelson also teased very early footage of the studio’s two Christmas film — Les Misreables, starring Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe, and Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up follow-up This is 40. Turning to next year, he showed concept art and footage from February event pic 47 Ronin and Oblivion, which opens April 26, 2013.
The studio chairman gave a special shout-out to Universal president of distribution Nikki Rocco, noting that that the recent decision to push back 47 Ronin from the end of this year to February 2013 shows Rocco’s commitment to a year-round release schedule.
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