On day three of CinemaCon 2022, Universal Pictures went all out kicking off the festivities with an electrifying reel that captured iconic moments throughout the studio’s history, this of course was just the beginning. Universally known for captivating the CinemaCon audience with their star-studded presentations, this year was no exception, with 25 films to release, nearly 10 more than any other studio, it called on the help of movie theater staff to assist in announcing the upcoming slate alongside filmmakers.
Chairman Donna Langley took the stage to first share her commitment to the cinema industry before introducing Jim Orr, President of Domestic Theatrical Distribution, who shared that every piece shown today would be the first to be seen by any audience before.
The presentation kicked off with Nope, Jordan Peele’s directorial follow-up to acclaimed horror films Get Out and Us. Peele stated that his intention is to bring the people that don’t like scary films to the theater as much as those that need their horror appetite to be fed, for those that need to be seen and heard.
Staying in theme with horror, the high holy scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis took to the stage to introduce a first look at what happens when Laurie and Michael meet for the last time in Halloween Ends, “It has been a ride of my life to play Laurie since 1978…it will be Laurie’s last stand”. Halloween Ends releases in theaters on October 14, 2022.
Next up is Megan, the new killer doll who might just be the real BFF after the sneak preview we witnessed, is an upcoming science-fiction horror story by James Wan.
The final 2 horror films of the night both echo themes of man versus something ghastly. Beast starring Idris Elba, while on a family trip in South Africa will fight for his survival against a bloodthirsty lion. The film is set to release on August 19, 2022.
Finally, the last film on Universal’s horror docket, The Last Voyage of the Demeter tells the story of the famed Dracula only this time set at sea. The film is expected to be released on January 27, 2023.
The presentation took a more family-friendly turn with long-awaited box office hit animations. Universal Pictures brought families back during the pandemic this past Christmas with Illumination’s Sing 2 which made $162.6M, the highest-grossing animated film during the pandemic. Now with the highly anticipated film Minions: The Rise of Gru there seems to be no stop in sight. Steve Carrell took to the stage to first express his gratitude to the cinema “I’m in love with you…you had me at CinemaCon”. Before sharing the trailer, Carrell comically shared where he came up with the accent for Gru, “I flew over Eastern Europe and just absorbed all the languages”. The film is sure to be a major box office success and is expected to release on July 1, 2022.
Next up is the long-awaited Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, starring Salma Hayek Pinault who is set to reprise the role of Kitty Softpaws reteaming with Antonio Banderas who plays the sword aficionado feline. Harvey Guillén is making his franchise debut in the role of Perro, a lovable mangy dog. The theatrical release date is December 21, 2022.
Next up, not so much a family-friendly film but definitely a family-oriented film, Easter Sunday is set around a family gathering to celebrate, you guessed it Easter Sunday. The comedy will be based on a fictionalized version of Jo Koy’s life experiences and stand-up comedy. The theatrical release date is August 5, 2022.
Sticking to the same genre, Bros, the first gay rom-com to be made by a major studio and involved an entire cast played by LGBTQ actors is directed by Nicholas Stoller. Before lead actor Billy Eichner introduced the first look at the trailer, he took a moment to share the importance of this film “Representation matters…offering opportunities for actors that have been historically overlooked”. The theatrical release date is September 30, 2022.
Finally wrapping up the rom-com section, Universal announced the working title Ticket to Paradise, starring powerhouse duo George Clooney and Julia Roberts releasing in theaters on October 21, 2022.
The last two films in Universal’s presentation are both emotionally gripping but from two different genres. First up, She Said, starring and introducing Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan is a dramatic film adaptation about the Weinstein exposé in the New York Times which accelerated the #MeToo movement. The theatrical release date is November 18, 2022
The last but most anticipated film is Jurassic World Dominion, which was introduced by Bryce Dallas Howard and Jeff Goldblum showing both the legacy cast (Goldblum, Sam Neill, and Laura Dern) aiding the Jurassic World team (Howard and Chris Pratt) in finding Blue the raptor’s offspring.
Universal Pictures certainly left us on a high note and with their upcoming slate, it seems that this year will be an unforgettable experience at the cinema.