CinemaCon 2014: Universal Looks Ahead

Comedies, franchise and Oscar bait fill the schedule

Fast And Furious 6

This year’s CinemaCon event – a gathering of those involved in the distribution and exhibition of movies, as well as various allied industries (concession suppliers etc.) – was technically kicked off by Paramount, which debuted footage from Transformers: Age Of Extinction and rolled out The Rock to debut the Hercules trailer you can see here. Universal’s turn came the following day, and the studio pointed to its franchise successes as the keys to its future.

A few minutes of footage from the latest chapter of the studio’s prime success story, Fast & Furious 7 was shown, despite the film being pushed back to 2015 due to Paul Walker’s death. Walker was still front and centre in the scenes we saw along with other veterans Vin Diesel, Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez and, to a lesser degree in these clips, Dwayne Johnson. Jason Statham and Kurt Russell were also glimpsed in a sizzle reel that focused on the gang launching their cars from a cargo plane, with Tyrese’s Roman too nervous to follow. Sadly for him, Ludacris’ Tej had other ideas. Cue shouting… There was also a chance for Rodriguez to once again show off her fighting skills, this time against UFC champ Rhonda Rousey while both were wearing stylish dresses. Brawlgowns, anyone?

Also on the thrill-o-meter was a rough trailer for Luc Besson’s Lucy, which sees Scarlett Johansson in kick-ass mode as a young woman forced to transport drugs that leak into her system and gift her with mind-and-body enhancing powers. It’s fair to say this was the Black Widow on… whatever it is those drugs were made of. But it certainly looks more super-powered than early plot descriptions led us to believe.

Dumb And Dumber To

Comedies got a look-in via Dumb And Dumber To, which appears absolutely mad (in a good way) and more from Seth MacFarlane’s A Million Ways To Die In The West, which premiered a mix of the trailers that have been released with some new scenes. A long trailer for Despicable Me spin-off Minions also screened to a warm reception.

Angelina Jolie arrived on stage to usher in a longer look at what the studio is hoping will be awards bait, true-life tale Unbroken. It was really an extended sizzle reel, but confirms what anyone who listened to our podcast last week might have surmised: Jack O’Connell has the goods.

The footage reel wrapped up with a first look at Fifty Shades Of Grey, which naturally went heavy on the romance angle and largely only hinted at the S&M stuff,. Oh, and Jurassic World was also represented, but only in a CG-crafted jungle teaser that naturally couldn’t offer any footage (since shooting has yet to start on the new film) and played up the affection for the franchise as a whole.