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Universal, wrapping up CinemaCon with the final studio presentation of the convention, announced dates for sequels to two of its most successful films: Fifty Shades of Grey and Furious 7. The studio also brought out a parade of stars and filmmakers including Amy Schumer, Chris Pratt, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Guillermo del Toro.
Donna Langley announced that sequels Fifty Shades Freed and Fifty Shades Darker will hit theaters on Feb. 10, 2017, and Feb. 8, 2018, respectively.
The studio is riding high off the success of Furious 7, which recently became its first film to cross the $1 billion mark, and has earned more than $300 million domestically to date.
Vin Diesel, star of the franchise, came to the stage to talk about the hit. He got emotional when speaking about his friend and co-star Paul Walker, who died before Furious 7 was completed.
“The last time I was on this stage I was with my brother Pablo,” he said. “It’s hard for me to even watch that clip and then come out here without being emotional.”
Diesel announced that the next installment in the franchise would hit theaters on April 14, 2017. “We’re going to make the best movie you’ve ever seen,” he said.
Earlier in the convention, Universal screened sequel Pitch Perfect 2 for exhibitors. At the presentation, Elizabeth Banks, who is making her directorial debut with the film, took the stage to talk about the project.
Universal also brought producer Jason Blum and director M. Night Shyamalan up to speak about The Visit before showing a trailer. “I wanted to get a producer who was of champion of original filmmaking,” said Shyamalan of Blum. He added: “The goal of the film was to be the loudest, funnest moviegoing experience.”
Guillermo del Toro, who helmed Crimson Peak, said he’s always been interested in gothic romance. “It has very sick and twisted elements in it — that’s why I like it,” he said. “And it requires spectacle.”
The creepy trailer centered on Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain, who play siblings living in a old home with dark secrets.
Baltasar Kormákur then spoke on Everest. “We set out to make a film as authentic as possible,” he said. “I wanted to make a big-scale adventure film and a drama with the heart of an indie.”
The trailer was action-packed with beautiful images of the mountain and tense scenes as a storm attacks the mountain climbers, threatening their lives.
Seth MacFarlane promoted his sequel, Ted 2, which sees the return of the trash-talking teddy bear. “We figured if we were going to take the trouble and break our backs to do a sequel, let’s do something new,” said MacFarlane, who revealed that Ted wants to start a family in the sequel.
Other new footage was shown from Sisters (starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler) and Trainwreck, starring Schumer.
Straight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray grew up near where Ice Cube was raised, and said the film is very special to him for that reason.
He brought Ice Cube and Dr. Dre to the stage to talk about the biopic. “This is a very special project, a project I never thought I would get made. I never thought a company would have the balls to make this,” said Ice Cube. “This summer you are going to see a movie that encompasses the American Dream to the fullest.”
“I’m super-excited about this shit, and I’m proud to be a part of it,” added Dre.
Illumination Entertainment CEO Chris Meledandri spoke about Minions (July 10), the Despicable Me spinoff. The movie is a prequel, explaining where the little yellow helpers come from and tracing their attempts to find the most evil boss out there.
Illumination is also releasing The Secret Life of Pets on July 8, 2016. It’s a new story about what goes on when pets’ owners leave the house. The audience was shown some new footage of the family comedy, which centers on a group of dogs, cats and birds and their adventures in the home.
The presentation wrapped up with Jurassic World helmer Colin Trevorrow. “We have something in this movie that Jurassic Park didn’t have, and I think that’s what’s going to take it to a different level,” he said. And that thing? Chris Pratt, who took the stage to charm the crowd with a few jokes before a sizzle reel for the new summer film. It featured new footage of the larger-than-life dinosaurs, and the terror that breaks out when they break free in the park.
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