As Disney/Marvel kickstarted day three of CinemaCon with a smaller but stronger presentation, on Wednesday evening, Universal closed the day off with new looks at Jurassic World Dominion, Halloween Ends and Jordan Peele’s new movie, Nope.
Universal began by paying respect and homage to the hard work theatre workers went through after the industry collapsed in the wake of Covid in 2020 and early 2021. Donna Langley, Universal Studios boss, made a quip on stage, “I’m sure there’s a drinking game tied to when a studio executive gets on stage and says ‘the magic of movies.’”
“My confidence in theatrical has never wavered, theatrical will always be the cornerstone of our business. Cheers to that,” she added (via Deadline).
Langley continued, “We remain committed to offering you compelling content to bring people back to the back office. We are all here to celebrate great movies from our industries brightest talent. Theatrical will always be the cornerstone of our business.”
It’s important for me to add these quotes because whilst it’s fun for us fans to hear about all the footage the studio release. At the end of the day, CinemaCon isn’t for us, it’s for the cinema owners and employees and to get them excited to show and sell their content.
After the 18-20 months the industry took a battering during the pandemic, but no more so than theatres as it was on life support. It shows pure class from Langley and Universal to highlight this. In some way, continue to shame Warner Bros after their failed 2021 day-and-date release strategy.
As for the footage, Nope was the first film shown, and filmmaker Peele was joined on stage by Anthony Fykes, co-owner of Next Act Cinema, the first Black-owned cinema in Baltimore.
Fykes told Peele how important Get Out and Us are to his African American audiences. “I love that you keep making original stories, but you’re out here doing something new every single time,” stated the theatre owner.
Meanwhile, the audiences got a better understanding of what Nope is about in this new trailer. Basically, aliens are haunting the siblings of Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer. Then it shows cowboys and something is in the clouds kills flickering, there are horses, sky and references to mental probes and at the end of this trailer, a UFO appears.
Staying in the horror realm, Jamie Lee Curtis was next on stage to discuss Halloween Ends and described it as “Laurie Strode’s last stand”, and here are some reactions to the trailer.
The horror theme continued with the first look at the new Blumhouse pic, M3GAN. It’s a scary doll movie where it kills people I don’t think anymore needs to be said, you get the idea.
Next up we Beast, where we’ll see Idris Elba protecting his family in the jungle and getting jumped by the biggest lion, and it sounds like the audience had a great time. Followed by Jo Koy’s Easter Sunday, which is already getting compared to Crazy Rich Asians and My. Big Fat Greek Wedding as it’s a comedy about him and his family, relatives and sitting around the dinner table.
If Liam Neeson fighting wolves in The Grey can do well, then Elba fighting lions can equal, if not better, it and it sounds like the perfect B-movie. As for Easter Sunday, if it meets the level of the film it’s being compared to this early, against Universal is on for a decent success.
The studio had something for the older audience a rom-com called Ticket to Paradise starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts about a divorced couple going to Bali to stop their daughter’s wedding.
This plot and these two generational talents could continue a brilliant year for the studio, and I’m here for it.
Meanwhile, there were fresh trailers for She Said (about the New York Times investigation into Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual assaults starring Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan), Minions: The Rise of Gru, Puss in Boots 2 and The Last Voyage of the Demeter (a Jude Law-led horror about the ‘The Captain’s Log’ chapter from Bram Stoker novel, Dracula).
Then you have Bros, which I believe is the most important film Universal is releasing as it’s the first gay romantic comedy made by a major studio. The response is very encouraging with the main word being hilarious.
Finally, to close the session, Jeff Goldblum and Bryce Dallas Howard were on hand to introduce another look at Jurassic World Dominion.
I genuinely believe Universal will have an incredible 2022-2023 as they have the big budget of Jurassic World, kids films that will bring families in and mid-budget flicks in different genres.