LAS VEGAS — Universal Pictures “surprised” CinemaCon attendees with the first screening of “The Fate Of The Furious” this morning as they capped off what was a somewhat tame presentation to the theater owners in attendance. The studio had a ton of stars on hand (more on that in a minute), but gave a major spotlight to Vin Diesel, who has had a love affair with the convention for years.
Diesel had promised a seventh movie on the same stage years prior (something he reminded everyone of) and was asked by presentation host Natalie Morales why they have continued despite the tragic death of co-star Paul Walker in 2013.
“When I thought about going into this eighth chapter, it was Paul Walker who promised eight and it just played over and over in my brain. Him saying, ‘Eight is guaranteed’ and I always feel he’s always looking down at us, so we never want to leave him down,” Diesel replied.
Because Universal had blocked off three hours for its presentation, the “Fate” screening wasn’t necessarily that unexpected, but the fact it was revealed at 11 a.m. meant many in the theater couldn’t stay for it, due to other scheduled meetings and events, and it brushed up against sister company Focus Features’ 15-year anniversary celebratory lunch. However, it should be noted that while early rumors suggested “The Fate Of The Furious” was 2 hours and 40 minutes long, the final running time is actually 2 hours and 8 minutes.
There was no news during the rest of Universal’s showcase, but the studio did bring out a number of stars to promote their films over the next few months. Steve Carell was there for “Despicable Me 3” and Charlize Theron talked about “Atomic Blonde” (a Focus release Universal is marketing and distributing). Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall and Queen Latifah were on hand to promote “Girls Trip,” while Jake Johnson, Sofia Boutella and Annabelle Wallis carried the torch for “The Mummy.” Tom Cruise, who is in the middle of shooting “Mission: Impossible 6,” appeared in a taped introduction for an extended look at the studio’s attempt to reboot the horror-action franchise. And, of course, a number of “Fate Of The Furious” stars eventually took the stage to join Diesel, including Ludacris, Tyrese, Kurt Russell and, once again, Theron.
Shockingly, outside of noting sequels for “Sing” and “The Secret Life Of Pets,” the studio did not even mention any project hitting theaters after “Girls Trip” in July.