CineEurope: Universal Screens Exclusive Previews of 'Bridget Jones's Baby,' 'Jason Bourne'
'Despicable Me 3,' 'Fifty Shades Darker,' The Snowman' and two appearances by Tom Cruise also featured in the studio's presentation.
Less than 12 months after it enjoyed not just its most successful year but the most successful year in motion-picture history, Universal came to CineEurope with its head held high, although its presenters were keen to point out that the studio's 2016 performance was unlikely to match how it did in 2015, when three separate titles shattered the $1 billion mark at the box office.
That said, 2017 could give 2015 a run for its money. Among the titles lined up for next year discussed in Universal's presentation Tuesday were Despicable Me 3, in which Gru meets his identical twin Drew and an '80s-inspired baddie voiced by Trey Parker; the sequel to R-rated smash Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker; Working Title's Michael Fassbender-starring The Snowman, based on the Joe Nesbo bestseller; and, of course, Fast and Furious 8, which has been shooting in Cuba, Iceland and New York.
While no footage was available from those films, audiences were treated to an animated look at the Despicable Me 3 antagonist throwing some '80s-style shapes, plus a special behind-the-scenes look at Universal's historical actioner with Legendary, The Great Wall, due out Feb 17.
"Everyone's here because of Yang Zimou," said star Matt Damon of his director in a video message.
Closer on the schedule, there was an extended preview of the opening scenes from the talent show-inspired Sing, the latest animation from Despicable Me studio Illumination, and featuring the voice of Matthew McConaughey as a Buster Moon, a koala who tries to save his failing theater with a singing competition.
Attendees also saw an exclusive trailer for the return of London's most famous singleton in Bridget Jones's Baby, showing Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey and Emma Thompson in full hilarious force, while there was another, rather more high-octane, exclusive excerpt for a fellow long-awaited returning franchise, Jason Bourne.
Tom Cruise made not one but two video appearances, the first for crime drama-thriller American Made — formerly known as Mena — in which he plays a real-life former TWA pilot who became a drug smuggler in the 1980s during the Iran-Contra affair.
"The story is so unbelievable that it has to be true," the actor said before an exclusive preview of the Doug Liman-directed film, due out in January.
Cruise popped up a few minutes later to discuss The Mummy reboot, which he said he'd been filming in London and was bringing the film into a more contemporary setting. Kingsman: The Secret Service's Sofia Boutella plays an awakened Egyptian queen in that movie.