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LAS VEGAS – Universal’s presentation, which took place right after the annual State of the Industry event at CinemaCon, featured never-before-seen footage from Fifty Shades of Grey, Fast 7, and Unbroken, the biopic of World War II POW Louis Zamperini directed by Angelina Jolie.
Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley ended the presentation with one of the biggest reveals — the first footage from the highly anticipated adaptation Fifty Shades of Grey.
“Nobody outside the studio has seen a frame of footage,” Langley said.
The clip showed leads Dakota Johnson (Anastasia Steele) and Jamie Dornan (Christian Grey) meeting in Grey’s office (“Mr. Grey will see you now,” says the receptionist), in coffee shops and the hardware store where Anastasia works, all familiar scenes from the book.
While based on EL James‘ erotic novel, the film looks to be more romantic than sexual. There was a brief glimpse of Johnson wearing a black blindfold in a red room, but most of the focus was on the couple’s courting.
“Hearts and flowers — that’s not who I am,” says Grey at one point in the clip, which also showed a brief glimpse of him pushing Anastasia up against a wall.
Other major previews included a long look at Fast 7, which stars the late Paul Walker. The first scene showed Walker’s Brian O’Conner and many of the other main characters sitting in cars that are then dropped out of an airplane and parachute to the ground. There’s also a glamorous party scene and one scene where Michelle Rodriguez‘s Letty Ortiz fights another female character — while wearing a gown.
NBCUniversal vice chairman Ron Meyer took the stage early on in the presentation to tout the studio’s record year in 2013 and to praise newly installed Universal Filmed Entertainment chairman Jeff Shell and Universal Pictures chairman Langley. Meyer then introduced longtime Universal president of domestic distribution Nikki Rocco, who spoke about the need to spread films evenly throughout the year.
“The more we clog summer and holidays, the more we create more losers than winners,” she said. “A year has 52 weekends, and we should use the full calendar.”
Rocco pointed to Universal’s strong performers from January 2014, Lone Survivor and Ride Along.
A preview clip then ran, showing trailers for Universal’s summer slate including those for Neighbors, A Million Ways to Die in the West, Lucy and Dumb and Dumber To.
She also presented information on Unbroken, about the life of WWII vet Louis Zamperini. “Over the years the project experienced a number of false starts,” she said of the long-gestating project.
“It never quite all came together until it caught the attention of a force of nature, Angelina Jolie,” said Langley of the film’s director.
Jolie, wearing a white pantsuit, then took the stage to talk about the film. “I wanted to make this film because in the end its message is one that we all need now more than ever. It’s the journey of man finding his way through the darkness and into the light,” she said.
The powerful first footage from the film showed Zamperini’s journey from childhood to Olympic runner and WWII prisoner of war.
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